Kevin Crawford

The D Flute Album

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Crawford's mastery of a notoriously difficult instrument at such a young age is remarkable in and of itself; that he brings his virtuosity to bear on these tunes with such grace and so little unnecessary flashiness is even more so. He plays with the astringent, reedy tone favored by almost all Irish flutists, and his playing is so precise that at times it sounds almost programmed; he tosses off multiple ornaments as if it were as simple as breathing. His performances of old favorites like "The Sligo Maid" and "Toss the Feathers" bring new life to a sometimes tired-sounding repertoire, and when he switches to a bamboo flute to play "Green Fields of Rossbeigh" and "The New Policeman," one wonders at the fact that a musical tradition able to absorb the bouzouki without a problem has yet to take further advantage of that dark, sweet-sounding instrument. Crawford's bodhran playing is excellent as well. If there is any complaint at all to be made about this album, it is that the program's preponderance of reels leads to a certain homogeneity; a few more jig sets and slow airs would have been nice. (The album's one slow air is also the only Crawford composition, and it's absolutely gorgeous.) Highly recommended.

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