Marcel Azzola (1927-2019) was born in Paris, France, and he started to play the accordion ar the age of nine taking his first lessons from Paul Saive. He soon started to take lessons from Attilio Bonhommi, whose jazz concerts he soon also started to accompany as a member of his orchestra.
During the Second World War, he worked as in-house accordionist in several bars in Paris. At the same time, he also took lessons from Medard Ferrero and Jacques Mendel. Soon after the war, in 1946, he toured in Germany, entertaining the American troops there.
In the 50s, his career really took off. He collaborated with such names as Edith Piaf and Yves Montand, and – most notably – Jacques Brel. The famous line ”Chauffe, Marcel” is pronounced by Brel in the famous recording of Vesoul, Azzola being the true star of that piece with his great, improvised accordion part.
Azzola formed a duo with the pianist Lina Bossatti in early 1980s. Their duo and deep friendship remained till the end.
Marcel Azzola died on January 21st, 2019 in Poissy, near Paris. He will remembered in the accordion – and the whole musical – world as not only an uncomparable musician but a true gentleman and a warm person who gave inspiration to a vast amount of musicians of younger generations throughout the world.