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~Accordion Crimes

CD recording

Genre: Jazz


For all the broadening of what constitutes jazz instrumentation, the accordion still isn't widely used, and is still considered a rarity. The UK's Karen Street first surfaced in the jazz world in Tim Garland's folk jazz band Lammas and on this set she commits her own compositions to jazz variations from a fine group featuring Stan Sulzmann, guitarist Mike Outram and bassist Fred Thelonious Baker. Street is a superb textural player, an affecting composer and a thoughtful accompanist. Some of the music is folksy, some suggestive of an old Stan Getz jazz-samba, some is Kurt Weillian, but all of it is lyrical. Sulzmann is in relaxed and inventive form smoking and flaring on the slowly gliding title track, hooting like a tenor-sax Johnny Hodges on the Ellington/Strayhorn piece Mount Harissa, shaping his narrative subtly in Getz-like mode on Which Way Up.
John Fordham, The Guardian, December 2004

It's always risky to call something a 'first', but I can't think of any other jazz record with a line-up of accordion, tenor sax, guitar and bass. But that's the group assembled by Karen Street, and it's not only a unique sound, but features some fine playing by individuals who evidently rose to the occasion. Musicians who have given the accordion a genuine voice are rare, but Karen Street is undoubtedly among them.
Jazz UK, January 2005

This is one of the most charming and unexpected releases of the season. Karen Street has evolved an entire vocabulary for the accordion that works beautifully in the jazz context without forfeiting the instrument's awkward individuality. It hasn't happened overnight as anyone has heard her work with Mike Westbrook, Tim Garland and others will know, but the firm confidence of this set establishes a whole new standard.
Dave Gelly, The Observer, December 2004

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