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Jim Besser

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Contra and English ceilidh dance music, Morris music, traditional French dance music, playing for any and all dancers.
  • Location
    Washington DC metro area

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  1. PM me your email address and I'll add you to the list!
  2. Randy and I have done regional (Maryland / DC / Virginia) squeezebox gatherings and have a fairly extensive mailing list of players in the region.
  3. Of course! Our little session in Canajoharie was just a day before I met you at that funky restaurant near your home and "entertained" the diners.
  4. Indeed I do remember that canal side jam, with a great deal of pleasure. And we're planning to do the Erie Canal ride again this year - and maybe we can do it again!
  5. It's a fine tune for experimenting with arrangements. Here's a recording I did recently - on Anglo, forgive me.
  6. Remember? Are you kidding? I am spending time these days revisiting old tunes looking for new ways to play them.
  7. And now for something different...I've been updating a tune we used to play for contra dances - American Patrol, an 1885 march by Frank White Meacham that became a Swing Era hit for Glenn Miller in 1942. Played on a 30 button CG Anglo concertina. https://soundcloud.com/concertinist/american-patrol-1-14-2023
  8. I bought a square Herrington CG (possibly the one in the picture above! It looks like my case) 25 or so years ago, and have since owned a number of more traditionally shaped instruments. I'll leave a technical discussion of the ergonomics of instrument shape to those who are more knowledgable. What I can say: I never felt much of a difference in terms of playability. For a few years, I'd switch back and forth at dances between the square Herrington and a more conventionally shaped vintage Anglo without any awkwardness. I played the Herrington standing up for Morris, sitting down for contra/ceilidh dances, and never felt that the shape had any impact on my playing Having owned a number of instruments and played many more, I believe there is no universally "right" box shape, button design, button spacing, etc. We all have preferences, but my experience is that we quickly adapt to physical differences in the instruments we end up with. Every new instrument I've purchased felt awkward and strange at first, then perfectly fine after a while. We can drive ourselves a little crazy obsessing about a chimerical perfection.
  9. A Shetland fiddle tune, played on a 30 button Jeffries G/D Anglo. I played it a bit last year, but it came up this week as the tune of the week on a Facebook music group, and I thought I'd try a different arrangement. And it reminds me to say: happy holidays to all and a happy new year.
  10. Of course I remember him from Bucksteep - but he was also at CHiminey Corners as recently as 5 or 6 years ago. I remember because he was the only musician who wanted to play Horizonto, one of my favorites!
  11. I first heard this on an excellent new CD by English concertina player Robin Beech, and wondered how it would work on the Anglo. The intriguingly named "Bang Your Frog on the Sofa" was written by Will Harmon, and I suppose if it's representative of a genre, it could be labeled Irish. Whatever, it's a lovely tune. Here played on a 30 button Jeffries G/D Anglo. https://soundcloud.com/concertinist/bang-your-frog-on-the-sofa-2-12-2022
  12. Amazing, as always. I know how much energy you put into arrangements, and it really shows.
  13. An interesting comment. As an Anglo player who doesn't play Irish, I realized recently that the ITM players I like to listen to are mostly playing English concertinas. Something about the way ITM on the Anglo has evolved does not attract me; the EC players I know who play Irish seem to focus more on the beauty of the melodies, less on extreme ornamentation and raw speed. I know this is heresy, but there you have it. I don't claim this as a universal truth, just one old guy's personal preference.
  14. Thanks! I was wondering about the second tune; it's very cool, and pretty challenging on 30 button Anglo. I actually have 2 copies of the Anglo International set - an early pre-release version and the commercial version, whose tidy CD case fell apart from overuse. And what a fantastic resource it is. Now all my music is on the compute and phone, and the CDs are tucked away in boxes, which reduces clutter but also means I don't have access to liner notes. Seemed like a good idea at the time....
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