Mr McFall's Chamber - Birds & Beasts

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Mr McFall's Chamber - Birds & Beasts

(Delphian Records)

A quintet of classical string players both thinking and playing out of the box, a jazz pianist and two drummers, and a piper with both folk and jazz leanings – it can only be Mr McFall’s. The music is equally eclectic – two compositions by Fraser Fifield (the piper in question), Martyn Bennett’s once lost ‘Piece for string quartet, percussion and Scottish small pipes in C’, and a half dozen arrangements by violinist Robert McFall from Bennett’s music.

The McFall’s have a track record in adapting Bennett’s ground-breaking folk-meets-techno experiments for this instrumentation, and it is good to see it now on disc. Tunes from Bothy Culture and Bennett’s stage music for Knives In Hens lend themselves well to the treatment (the later, even more studio-dependent Grit could have been a trickier proposition), and they capture the excitement and vitality of Bennett’s creative thinking in convincing fashion, while Fifield’s fiery ‘The Beast’ is a virtuoso achievement all round.

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