Paul Betken

Paul mentored under the legendary blind jazz accordionist, Leon Sash. Their friendship blossomed into a life long relationship. During that time, Leon blessed him with the gifts of his wisdom, music and philosophy. Leon considered Paul a member of Leon’s “guys,” a small group of fine professional accordionists in and around Chicago. His experience is anchored in most all musical genres as performed in extensively varied venues. He has performed in shows, private parties, theatres, country clubs, hotels and lounges etc. He was a former resident accordionist in Chicago for Bobbi Vinton and his concert shows. He has performed for many years (as a soloist, with small groups and larger ensembles) throughout metropolitan Chicago and the Phoenix metro area.

Residing in Tempe, AZ for the last 12 years, he enjoys casual engagements and jam sessions all around town. In recent years, Paul has kept busy performing and giving workshops at national events and festivals. He has made several appearances at the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention and the National Accordion Association Convention in Dallas. He has also appeared with full accompaniment on the main stage at the Cotati Accordion Festival in 2015. In October, 2016, he had the honor to perform in Rome, Italy.

In June, 2014, he released his latest CD, “Paul’s Turn – Jazz Accordion” (available at and; as featured on Accordions and Accordions The CD showcases the accordion in a pop/jazz mode featuring songs which one would not expect to be performed on the instrument. The CD drew international recognition and impressive reviews from Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune music critic, and Paolo Picchio, President of Consorzio Music Marche, Castelfidardo, Italy. Paul was honored to have Dermott Husey of Sirius XM feature several songs from the CD on his Podcast (June, 2015).

Currently, he is arranging and compiling his favorite tunes for jazz accordion from the Great American Songbook for a new reference book for his workshops. Paul is also back in the recording studio working on a new project.

Paul will be performing a jazz accordion concert at the ATG Festival in Chicago on July 22, 2017.