“Chauffe, Marcel heater!” With the death of Marcel Azzola, at the age of 91 years, goes a very great Gentleman of the accordion, which gave France a new breath to the instrument by taking him to jazz. “His heart has let go” Monday morning, at his home in Villennes-sur-Seine in the Yvelines, near paris, announced to the AFP Lina Bossati, his partner of scene then the heart.

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Many are those who know without knowing that this genius of the accordion thanks to the film music of Jacques Tati and the song Vesoul by Jacques Brel. Marcel Azzola has entered walk-in to the legend with his chorus accordion stunning on this title, in 1968, and the famous “Chauffe Marcel, Chauffe!” that he had launched then, manic, Jacques Brel during the recording. In addition to this piece of bravery, the musician has also helped to advance the accordion from a technical point of view, and has given him a new breath in “daring to jazz”, in the words of Philippe Krümm, responsible for the magazine Accordion Accordionists, .

the Jacques Brel sings Vesoul , with Marcel Azzola on accordion

His heirs revere: “He has always been a focal point,” says Richard Galliano. “Marcel, this is an iconic figure for my generation,” says Francis Varis. His game all shades, “in which there will never be a trace of vulgarity”, according to Francis Varis, and his phrasing “with a very special dynamic, very bebop”, according to Richard Galliano, forced admiration.

Born July 10, 1927 in the Twentieth arrondissement of Paris, to parents, Italian immigrants settled in Pantin, the little “Marcello” was sensitized early on to the music. After the violin, his father, a bricklayer and amateur musician, directs them to the accordion. Attilio Bonhommi, his second teacher, he was inoculated the love of this instrument. After his first competition in 1937, he accompanied the following year at the débotté the singer realistic Fréhel in a radio-hook.

His career is launched. Since the 1940s, being perfected with Médard Ferrero, “Il Professore”, he walked around his piano straps everywhere, from breweries in the dance halls, studios in Six Days of cycling in the Vel d Hiv, toured with Yves Montand in adventures in jazz, duets in major orchestras. His classical culture, his ability to decipher, have made him at the end of the 1940s his studio so popular. In 1949, he took part in the recording of Under the Sky of Paris by Edith Piaf. Then came Gilbert Bécaud, Barbara, Boris Vian, Mouloudji, Juliette Greco, Francis Lemarque, Yves Montand, among others…

Stephane Grappelli Marcel Azzola play Leaves

The accordion-Marcel Azzola traverses also the soundtrack of many films, such as this little fragment of melody, accompanying Mr. Hulot on his solex in My Uncle of Jacques Tati. He has also rubbed shoulders with the kings of the musette: Gus Viseur, and especially Tony Murena. He also made the ball, hosted a number of Six-Day cyclists in the Vel d Hiv, an event that “people” at the time, followed by three Tours de France in the caravan…

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His technique also allowed him to slip with ease into the world of jazz, alongside Stéphane Grappelli, Dany Doriz or Toot Thielemans, and to be an actor in the rapprochement between jazz and musette in the 1980s. Professor at the Ecole de musique d’orsay for twenty years, he has been an activist since the 1970s, along with his colleagues Joe Rossi, Joss Baselli et André Astier, for the recognition of the accordion. The culmination of this struggle: the registration of this instrument at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique de Paris in 2002.

Didier Lockwood & Marcel Azzola interpret Javanese

This musician of great class proved a charming man, praised for his kindness and his modesty. “He has always had respect for people”, ensures Philippe Krümm. Frozen at the Grevin museum from 1969 to 1981, he had refused the Legion of Honour, but accepted the insignia of the chevalier and commander of Arts and Letters. Marcel Azzola was suffering for a very long time of Dupuytren’s contracture of the right hand. The evil is accentuated, its activity was remarkably reduced in recent years. He spent most of his time in the manor of Villennes-sur-Seine that he shared with Lina Bossatti, a pianist and a violinist, very talented.

Lina Bossatti and Marcel Azzola play their show Accordionist to France Music