CAO 10 is the tenth full-length album by Dan Newton’s Cafe Accordion Orchestra. The recording celebrates the diverse musical influences that have shaped the band’s repertoire over the past 22 years. CAO 10 includes a mix of waltzes, swing and Latin selections from France, Brazil, Colombia and the United States. It also features five original compositions by band leader and accordionist Dan (Daddy Squeeze) Newton: three evocative waltzes – the musette-influenced November Moon, Manouche Café, and Nostalgique, plus the gypsy-jazz styled Mancouche Swing and a perky little shot of tequila called Game Show. Violinist and mandolinist Eric Mohring offers outstanding vocal performances in French (Je cherche apres Titine) and Spanish (La Zenaida). He also leads the band through a punchy rendition of the Jacob do Bandolim classic Benzinho. Guitarist Robert Bell shines throughout, whether playing it bluesy (Low Blues), Gypsy-style (Titine), or folky (Nostalgique). Bassist Erik Lillestol lays down a metronome-like low end and creative voicing on both electric and upright basses. Percussionist Joe Steinger is sometimes subtle, sometimes brash but always deft on drums, bongos and pandera.
Together, Erik and Joe form a strong rhythm section that can adapt to any dance style. Their tightness and drive are especially evident on the album’s three Cumbia selections: the Vallenato classic La Gota Fria and the Colombian hits La Zenaida and La Cumbia Cienaguera which also feature Elizabeth Rowan on the guiro. CAO 10 was recorded, engineered, mixed, mastered and produced by Scott Malchow at Creation Audio in Minneapolis.
CAO is led by Dan Newton on accordion and vocals, with Eric Mohring on mandolin, violin and vocals, Erik Lillestol on bass and vocals, Robert Bell on guitar and vocals and Joe Steinger on percussion. CAO has been delighting audiences and dancers alike since 1995. They have appeared in New York at the Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing series, the International Akkordeon Festival in Vienna, Austria, the Minnesota State Fair, as well as festivals, theaters and dance halls across the United States.