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Reviews | Celtic Connections 2015

17th January 2015 – Mackintosh Church


I had a really lovely night in the beautiful Mackintosh Church as part of Celtic Connections 2015! Opening for Ganesh Kumaresh with Trio AAB, I was joined by a wonderful band of Signy Jakobsdóttir, Alistair Iain Paterson, Anna Massie and Ben Nicholls and we played all of the tunes from The Brightest Path as well as some brand new material.

Here are a couple of great reviews of the whole concert…


The Scotsman


“As their drummer Tom Bancroft put it, Scotland’s Trio AAB came to Celtic Connections “from a faraway country called Jazz”. They’ve always represented that genre’s least chin-stroking territory, however, and this reprise of a previous collaboration with Indian violinists Ganesh and Kumaresh Rajagopolan, plus percussionist Acanthi R. Krishnan, in fact embodied the very model of a Celtic Connections show – especially twinned with Scottish fiddler Patsy Reid’s sparkling first-half set, and taking place in the world’s only church designed by that internationalist visionary, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The Indian duo first took the stage by themselves, delivering an astonishingly virtuosic  and electrifying display of carnatic artistry. The sounds rooted in these traditions can seem dauntingly foreign to Celtic-attuned ears, but here, although the bow-wielding brothers explored a whole other range of tonal and textural expression, the sheer intensity, drama and variety of their playing was nothing short of thrilling. Trio AAB joined the Indians for a set of specially-written boldly exploratory material, richly redolent of all the musicians’ relish in bringing together two great improvising traditions, from the dreamily gorgeous Flower Child to the exhilarating hustle and bustle – and phenomenal soloing  – of Chala Glasgow. A year after launching her third solo album, The Brightest Path, right here at the festival, Reid and her four-piece band displayed all the benefits of 12 months’ playing-in for it’s blend of tunes and songs, with a performance that was drumtight and sweetly subtle in all the right places.” Sue Wilson


The Herald


“There was something for every palate on Saturday night as Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Queen’s Cross Church opened it’s doors for a cultural coming together that proved to be something of a genre-buster. Perthshire based fiddler Patsy Reid opened proceedings with a fine set of tunes from a tightly knit band that produced a sound with a retro-progressive feel, including a Donald Shaw composition, A Precious Place, with a mesmerizing interplay between drummer Signy Jakobsdóttir and bassist Ben Nicholls. Parallels can be drawn between the venue’s architecture and the Carnatic music of Ganesh and Kumaresh Rajagopalan, two virtuoso violin-weilding brothers from India. For all its seeming complexity, it’s really quite simply constructed. As they helpfully pointed out, they use the same seven chords as musicians elsewhere in the world; just differently. The breathtaking scope of their filmic sound, rhythmically precise and with a healthy dose of improvisation, was astonishing. The thunderous percussion of Acanthi R. Krishnan had the effect of a stick of dynamite in a fireworks factory, giving their set of sometimes extended extemporisations an explosive edge. There was a sibling synergy going on when, 40 minutes into the set, the brothers were joined by Trio AAB; those giants of Scottish jazz: Phil and Tom Bancroft and Kevin Mackenzie. When the two trios combined, we heard something sextet-tabulously new; as a wholly innovative musical language was created in five new pieces of music. What we heard, and you might too, if recording plans come to fruition, was a seamless melding of cross-continental music where violins met saxophone in harmonic unity and ambient textures and vocals became one. This was a triumphant concert for Celtic Connections and underlines its influence in the development of new music where boundaries cease to exist.” Keith Moore
























Photograph by Alasdair Cassidy

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