PERFORMED AT THE 2016 CAF
Jim Gilman was seemingly fated to play the accordion. At age 7, a local Chicago accordion school called his parents and offered 6 weeks of free accordion lessons because they had heard their son “had talent.” After resisting a high-pressure accordion salesman, private lessons were arranged.
A move to California during Jim’s high-school years seemed to halt his accordion career, but fate stepped in once more. Jim’s father actually saw in the Long Beach paper, “Wanted: Accordion player.” I ask you - how many times have you ever seen that? He earned his way through college playing at Knott’s Berry Farm as a street musician. During the summer, it meant playing 8 hours a day, 5 days a week - for the princely sum of $1.85 per hour.
A student loan bought Jim his first Cordovox and he was on his way. In 1972 he met up with a saxophone player by way of a 3x5 card posted on a bulletin board and they went “on the road” playing at Holiday Inns all over the mid-west.
Along the way, that Cordovox was upgraded time and time again to where his accordion now controls, via MIDI, keyboards, computers, a module, and a vocalizer. Jim’s not a one-man band; he’s a one man orchestra. “It’s truly amazing what electronics, computers and MIDI - when added to the versatility of an accordion - have done for my ability to entertain audiences,” says Jim.