"A tribute to the greatest jazz accordionists, past and present"
Art Van Damme
Born in Norway, Michigan, he began playing the accordion at age nine and started classical study when his family moved to Chicago in 1934. In 1941 he joined Ben Bernie's band as an accordionist. He adapted Benny Goodman's music to the accordion. From 1945 to 1960 he worked for NBC, performing on The Dinah Shore Show, Tonight, The Dave Garroway Show and other radio and TV shows with Garroway. He recorded 130 episodes of the 15-minute The Art Van Damme Show for NBC Radio. Van Damme toured Europe and was popular with jazz listeners in Japan and regularly won the domestic Down Beat reader's poll for his instrument in the same period. Van Damme was married, and had three children. After he retired to Roseville, California he continued to perform almost to the end of his life. He had been ill with pneumonia for several weeks when he died on February 15, 2010 at the age of 89.
Thomas Joseph Gumina, May 1931 - October 2013 from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Began studying accordion at age 11 Spent 5 years in Chicago studying under the great Andy Rizzo Gave solo recitals and clubbed around between 1945 – 1951 Met Harry James in 1951 and in January 1952 went to Los Angeles in a series of television appearances with Mr. James. Appears in a Universal-International musical short with Harry James Orch. Also appeared on Ed Sullivan’s, Jackie Gleason’s, Perry Como’s and Liberace’s TV shows Went solo in 1955 In 1956 started his own combo; met with consistent success in Las Vegas Signed by Decca Records in 1957 Met Buddy DeFranco in 1959 or 1960; formed The Buddy DeFranco-Tommy Gumina Quartet DeFranco and Gumina record 5 LP’s; 1 for Decca and 4 for Mercury between 1960 & 1964 They appear with Sue Raney in February 1963 on “The Navy Swings” radio show Gumina records with Willie Smith in 1965 Starts Polytone in 1968 designing and building amps and instruments Occasionally gigs around although very seldom such as his appearance with Art Pepper Occasionally records at Polytone, which, some 30 odd years later, Polytone is a very successful venture for Mr. Gumina and all the musicians who use Polytone equipment