Martin Hayes / Brooklyn Rider

The Butterfly

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Both Irish fiddler Martin Hayes and the string quartet Brooklyn Rider have experimented with cross-genre fusions on their own, making this collaboration something of a natural thing. It is well-formed, musically expert, and highly evocative, not simply because of the lovely tunes involved but because of the intelligent sequence of events. The collection is firmly rooted in Irish traditional soils, with 10 of the 12 tracks based on Irish traditional tunes (the other two are the opening Maghera Mountain, by Hayes himself, and Bob and Bernie, by Peadar Ó Riada, son of Sean). That orientation is clearly stated upfront, with Brooklyn Rider playing a largely accompanimental role in the first few tracks. Then things open up, with arrangements by Brooklyn Rider's Colin Jacobsen and Nicholas Cords as well as other composers. The tunes get atomized a bit, and the quartet takes part in their participation in various ways, but they don't tip over into avant-garde territory. The fascinating title track (sample The Butterfly) comes the closest. Other accompaniments are minimal, like Ship in Full Sail, arranged by Kyle Sanna. Overall the tone is brisk, but sentiment, as in the finale Hole in the Hedge, is not excluded. The album is beautifully recorded, represents something of an Irish-American fusion, and suggests many new avenues of collaboration. Of interest and recommended both to contemporary quartet buffs and fans of the likes of Chris Thile.

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