REVIEWS: Chicago Accordion Club  

Chicago Accordion Club Entertainment
May 19, 2003 by Lenny Leto

On May 19, 2003 the Chicago Accordion Club was pleased to showcase the talents of Murl Allen Sanders. I had the pleasure of meeting Murl about two years ago at the Las Vegas Accordion Convention. And, when I watched him perform I was overtaken by his talent and unique style of playing. Later when I met Murl I found that he had a wonderful personality and a friendly mannerism, naturally we hit it off right away.

I attended one of his workshops and found it to be a very educational experience. Not only is he a great performer and technical artist but also a great educator. "Boy he really knows his stuff". Murl also has the ability to play in many different styles, from classical to show tunes, to jazz, to Cajun along with a pleasing voice on vocals.

John Simkus said that he had first seen Murl perform at the accordion convention in Las Vegas and in Seattle, Washington. Besides playing the accordion he also plays the B-3 organ and is an accomplished pianist. He also does a lot of commercial work in the Seattle area. John explained that every time he heard Murl perform he did something new. He would be playing a quick Cajun tune and then go into a complicated jazz routine that would knock your socks off.

The membership gave Murl a warm welcome as he came out strolling with his Petosa accordion while playing the Tennessee Waltz. Strolling around the room our members' eyes were all fixed on him, he played with smoothness and feeling along with a touch of Cajun style. Next Murl did a quick change of pace playing a fast moving Irish jig 'name unknown'. He thanked the members for their applause and told them how he had heard so much about the Chicago Accordion Club and was pleased to be asked to perform for us. Murl continued with another beautiful, haunting melody, Theme from 'The Godfather.' The next selection was a fast moving Sicilian tarantella called the Spider Dance. For his next selection Murl played a song from his latest CD called "Squeezin' Is My Destiny." The song had a rock and Cajun feel to it, as Murl sang this song his fingers were moving up and down the keyboard with lightning speed.

Next he performed another Cajun song called "Can You Dance To It." Then Murl told us that he loves different music from around the world and that his next selection was a Brazilian chorinho called "Malandrinho," which means "a bad, bad boy." It was a beautiful and fast moving tarantella-style melody with rapid solo passages and arpeggios. The membership responded with another round of applause. Murl changing the pace and played the beautiful George Gershwin song titled, "Embraceable You." While performing this beautiful song, he also treated us to a vocal while accompanying himself on the accordion.

His next selection was a Cajun novelty tune called "Life Took Away My Bone." This song was about a man who was down on his luck. The next piece was a cute little Irish jig called "A Natural Man or The Steamboat Song." Murl is a wonderful entertainer who possesses a truly unique talent being able to perform different styles of music on the accordion. Playing an old favorite his next selection was the ever-famous "Blue Moon." It was very interesting the way Murl played this song with different styles as he went through it first with a Cajun feel then a beautiful jazz rendition breaking out with a little bit of the blues, the crowd loved it.

The next selection was another tune from Murl's CD called "Eyes For The Daughter." This was a Cajun song about a guy who was just a lowlife. Next, Murl accompanied himself as he sang a beautiful ballad called "Just One Word." He followed with a couple of fast-moving Irish jigs, the "Belfast" and "Fair and Forty." Then back to New Orleans for another Cajun novelty tune called "New Orleans." The next selection was named after a beautiful park which Murl explained 'is back in my neck of the woods,' called "Sunny Ravenna."

Murl kept his audience captivated while he performed George Gershwin's "Stairway to Paradise." He also sang while playing accompaniment on the accordion giving us a little blues on the keyboard then playing the harmonica while accompanying with a rhythm bass on the accordion. This brought the members to their feet for a standing ovation. The final selection was a beautiful ballad by Randy Sparks, called "Today." It was beautifully sung and beautifully played. Once again the membership came to their feet for another standing ovation.

Murl Allen Sanders gave the Chicago Accordion Club a performance that will long be remembered. Murl is a gifted artist, performer and showman. Please come back and play for us again soon.