9/30/2010: Jeffrey Iacono
, 43, Costa Mesa, heavy metal musician turned jazz singer turns to rare Italian accordions to nurture his
love of music and heal his
Costa Mesa, CA (September 30, 2010)-- For the past two years, a live band performing at the 24-mile mark has greeted participants in the Orange County Marathon.
The band is comprised of musicians who live in the Costa Mesa neighborhood, and it started as a way for neighbors to provide a musical energy-boost to the runners in the latter portion of the 26-mile race.
One of those musicians is an accordion player named Jeffrey Iacono, a former heavy metal drummer and jazz singer who discovered the accordion shortly before losing his voice in 2006.
is one of the featured performers at The Big Squeeze, the 2nd Annual Orange County Accordion Festival, slated for October 10, 2010 at the Orange County Market Place
in Costa Mesa.
admits that, compared to most of the accordion players at the Big Squeeze, he
has yet to master the instrument.
But two things make Iacono unique in the star-studded line-up at this year's festival.
is one of the few accordion players who have trained to repair the complicated instrument, and he
is the North American distributor for one of the rarest, and most prestigious, accordions in the world: Borsini
, made by a family business that has handcrafted accordions in an Italian city since 1922.
runs a repair, tuning and sales shop for the first-rate accordions out of his
"They(Borsini accordions) are relatively rare in North America, because Borsini
just doesn't make enough in a given year to saturate a market," Iacono
"They're all about quality instead of quantity.
I have never heard an accordion like Borsini.
I've played a lot of accordions,and nothing compares to their tone or feel.
hey truly are something special."
will be staffing a Borsini booth at the Big Squeeze, providing information on the instrument as well as demonstrating a few models.
will also be performing at 11 a.m. with guitarist Ron Anthony who played with Frank Sinatra for almost a decade and is subbing in for one of the Mile 24 musicians.
Iacono's affiliation with Borsini
, whose accordions range from $5,000 to $11,000 to some special editions that can command as much as $25,000, started only three years ago, when he
wife traveled to Italy for their five-year wedding anniversary.
had purchased his
first accordion in 2006, a few months before he
voice due to the stress of his
younger brother's six-year battle with a rare form of cancer.
He'd played gigs as an accordionist, and also launched a part-time business selling and buying used accordions.
asked a musician colleague of his, Frank Marocco, a legendary accordion player and one of the most recorded accordionists alive, for a recommendation.
visited that company's factory.
But, after he
got to Italy and talked to Italian musicians about the best accordion, "they kept recommending an accordion maker I'd never heard of," he
That company's name was Borsini
made an appointment to visit the factory, and he
was immediately impressed.
"They do everything in that factory, and it's all by hand," Iacono
"I was given a personal tour by Vincenzo Borsini, the son of the original Borsini who started the factory.
showed me every step of the process and I was so impressed by the craftsmanship and attention to detail."
not only left Italy with a Borsini accordion, he
also had a job.
"For whatever reason, Vincenzo and I hit it off immediately and before I left, he
asked me if I wanted to be Borsini's go-to guy in North America," he
They plugged away for about 10 years but Iacono
left the band when he
realized the days of big-hair metal were coming to a close.
By this time, he
was also singing, and soon found his
niche when a high school friend of his
invited him to a wedding in Chicago.
"When I showed up, he
asked me if I wanted to sing with the jazz ensemble playing at the wedding," Iacono
Impressed by Marocco's playing, Iacono
asked if he'd sell him an accordion.
After "a bit of coaxing," Marocco relinquished one of his gems, and Iacono
took to it quickly.
Unable to sing any longer, Iacono
kept musically busy through playing the accordion at gigs and starting a small resale accordion business.
relationship with the instrument truly galvanized after the opportunity to work with Borsini
came up in late, 2007, an opportunity that Iacono
still can't believe occurred when it did.
"Look, I know how people think of these things, but to discover Borsini
and to make that connection at that point in my life, it was just an incredible blessing," he
hasn't given up on singing again.
voice has been slow to fully return, but it's getting there, and Iacono
is confident he
'll be back on stage again, doing what he loves best: singing jazz.
But when he
does return, he
will bring a deeper appreciation and perspective.
Mile 24 band are among 40 accordionists and musicians gathering to present the "squeeze box's" cross cultural appeal and adaptability into a variety of music genres.
To contact Iacono
, call (714) 269-8646, or visit www.borsiniaccordions.it.