By Christa T. for Accordion Americana When it comes to Americana, the accordion and the circus rank very high on a long list of highlights relating to the American Experience. Also included are Jazz and picnics in the park on a lazy Summer Sunday. It’s only natural that a very innovative, and savvy musician would eventually find a way to combine all of these elements, into one ring. In fact, the word “circus” literally means “ring” in Latin.
Rob Reich, Accordionist, Pianist , Composer and Music Director for The Circus Bella! All Star Band, an 11 piece orchestra, accompanies the acts of Circus Bella! with high-flying, original compositions and a dazzling musical vision. Inspired by 1920’s New Orleans Jazz music and both French and Klezmer influences as well as American circus marches, the Oakland, California accordionist has been composing original music for Circus Bella! since 2008. The vision was to recreate the kind of traveling circus that was popular in the United States before eighteen thirty. A circus moved from town to town, putting on shows with trained animals, acrobats doing difficult tricks, and funny, colorful clowns. And always, there was music to accompany the acts.
The music of Circus Bella has been an integral part of its productions since its first performance in Delores Park, in 2008. Reich has worked with circus artists to develop arrangements that complement each act. His scoring leaves room for the musicians to improvise to match the feeling of the moment, as the act evolves. In this way, the musicians and the music of Circus Bella! are literally ensemble members, collaborating with the performers in the ring.
A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory with a degree in Composition, Rob has been composing music for the last 15 years. He is very well known in the San Francisco Bay Area for his accordion work with Tin Hat, Gaucho and The Nice Guy Trio, and freelances with many other Bay area ensembles. In 2011, The Circus Bella All-Star Band released a Kickstarter-funded CD of original music.
In 2010, Rob was commissioned by the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival to compose “Sidewalks and Alleys”, performed and recorded on this CD by the Nice Guy Trio and an all-star string quartet.Rob has written music for various projects ranging from this tune for a sexy double trapeze act, the score to a beautiful dance film noir, to this silly song about shoes.
Rob Reich has presented us with the opportunity to be reminded of what music can do to bring people together in an imaginative way, to reinvent the old and to recreate a whole new genre of entertainment. I will take that on a lazy Summer Sunday, or any day of the week!
Rob Reich released his latest album, on April 7, 2015. Shadowbox, twelve exquisite Jazz compositions written and performed by Rob Reich.
The Music of Rob Reich and the Circus Bella! All Star Band: