Some consider Leon Sash (1922-1979) the greatest jazz accordionist ever, and certainly the equal of the far better known Art Van Damme. Whatever the case may be, it's certain that Sash was vastly under-recorded.
Some early recordings for Mercury's EmArcy imprint, a live recording at Newport in 1957 and a couple of later LPs comprise his slim discography.
Sash gained national and international recognition in the 1950s and '60s, especially after his Newport appearance. But unfortunately fame did not bring him more recording opportunities. In fact he had to wait a decade after Newport to enter a recording studio again.
Sash recorded 11 titles for EmArcy in 1954, but only four of them were released on two singles (78 and 45). All of the EmArcy tracks turned up in 1983 on a limited edition LP, Leon Sash - The Master.
One of the four tracks to see the light of day in 1954 was Leon the Lion (b/w Package for Peggy). The other members of Sash's quartet were Rudy Kerpays, piano, Sully Picerno, bass and Max Marish, drums. Marish also played with Van Damme.
There's also a vocal chorus on the EmArcy recordings, consisting of the four members of the Meadowlarks -- Bob Bleznick, Maury Jackson, Marie Renaldo and Elaine Rodgers -- plus Lee Morgan (Sash's wife) and Ed Vana.
Please note that the audio quality of Leo the Lion isn't up to the usual standard. It's dubbed from one of the original 45s that wasn't in the best shape and has been cleaned up as much as possible.
Leon the Lion
None of the EmArcy recordings are available in a digital format. Leon Sash's recording of Blue Lou from Newport '57 is included on several download compilations. On CD there's only I Remember Newport, a 1967 album done for the Chicago-based Delmark and reissued 30 years later. It's for sale on Amazon for a reasonable price.
Polka Dots and Moonbeams is taken from that album.