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Posted Wednesday, February 23, 2011
New Yorker Bob Brozman, travelling slide-guitarist extraordinaire, has made many recordings with musicians from around the world playing all sorts of styles. Here he does it again in Ireland with a small band of select musicians and the results are very pleasing indeed.
On Six Days In Down Brozman, armed with his vast array of guitars teamed up for the first time with fiddler Donal O’Connor and uillean piper and whistle player John McSherry (you may remember their fine album At First Light) in an intense six-day recording session in Downpatrick that averaged 15 hours per day. The result was a varied selection of jigs, reels, airs and polkas. As well there are two Gaelic songs beautifully presented by the gorgeous voice of Stephanie Makem.
Brozman’s knowledge of World Music must be extraordinary, but aside from his amazing technical skill, he has the ability to blend in with his chosen counterparts while adding his own special stamp to proceedings. Sometimes his input can be a little quirky, introducing cross-rhythms or modal motifs that traditional musicians may not have dared. But there is clearly great mutual respect at play here and Brozman’s injection of wit and colour into proceedings by and large works a treat. The polished playing of the Irishmen is creatively rounded off by Brozman’s energy and sparkle, and the occasional foot percussion gives the sound a nice bottom end. Considering there are only three players, the arrangements seem just right so the sound is more than the sum of its parts. The recorded sound is very ambient and life-like.
From the plaintively Celtic Roise Na bhFonn (Tuneful Rose) to the jazzy Portaferry Swing and worldly Beer Belly Dancing this is as invigorating as one would wish for in an album of Irish traditional music. There’s never a dull moment.
There are plans for these musicians to do some more work together. That is something to look forward to.
Riverboat Records TUGCD1057 (thru The Planet Co.)