"David Vernon's accordion and Dick Lee's clarinet combine wonderfully...their playing is full of spirit .. a great double act "

Musical high jinks for accordion and clarinet



Dick Lee’s clarinet and David Vernon’s accordion combine wonderfully, and their diverse selection of melodic tunes is totally engaging. Kicking off with Jewish klezmer "hora" wedding dances, moving onto a Carlos Gardel tango, thence to the Balkans via a "novelty number" called The Roulette Wheel, their playing is full of spirit and there are few musicians who could explain so simply what a complex time signature really means.

Lee’s tribute to Britain’s most famous clarinetist, Acker Bilk, a stunning version of his 1960s Stranger on The Shore, which to this day maintains the record for longest stay at the top of the singles chart and comes complete with seagull sounds [no, please don’t kill them off], is a delight, as is their version of Shostakovitch’s film music for The Gadfly.

While both have pedigree history with various Scottish ensembles, particularly Lee, they make a great double act.

Jan Fairley- THE HERALD ****

Accordionist David Vernon and clarinetist Dick Lee have hit on a way round the current air travel disruption. You sit in this famous Edinburgh deli’s back room and they bring your destination to you. From Tango to polka, Bulgarian horo to hot New Orleans jazz, the pair have a world of music at their fingertips and they play it all with great skill.

Film buffs are well-catered for in a presentation that blends research with chummy revelations, good-natured musical challenges, the odd quiz and - a Fringe exclusive, surely - the chance to hear a Chinese polka played on a recorder.

Rob Adams - THE SCOTSMAN ****

It may seem an eccentric combination, but both clarinet and piano accordion figure largely throughout European folk music, so there’s plenty for these two superb musicians to choose from by way of repertoire.

They began with a speedily accelerating Jewish set, Lee’s clarinet blowing wildly over rich accordion chords. The ensuing programme ranged eclectically from a Mozart aria to The Star of the County Down, whipped from Ulster to new Orleans by energetic swing jazz playing by Lee.

They took exotica and old standards alike, with the same musicianship, witty instrumental and verbal interplay. So we heard Vernon’s own composition, The Roulette Wheel - which made little allowance for a clarinetist’s need to breathe - and skittish clarinet soloing from Lee in jazz classic Take Five. There was wonderfully lugubrious rumbling from his bass clarinet in another Vernon composition, the bal musette style waltz, Excelsior.

 Jim Gilchrist - THE SCOTSMAN ****