Chris Stout Quintet (4 stars)

Devil's Advocate

Fiddler Chris Stout has long been involved in genre-crossing projects, including an interest in both improvisation and electro-acoustic composition. His quintet reflects some of that eclecticism in a context that is firmly rooted in the music of his native Shetland, but informed by an exploratory contemporary sensibility. The album includes two extracts from ‘Dynröst’, premiered at Celtic Connections in January with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, but arranged for quintet here.

The distinctive instrumental line-up, featuring Stout’s fiddle and the darker viola alongside Catriona McKay’s clarsach and Fraser Fifield’s soprano saxophone, gives the music its own sonic and textural qualities, underpinned by Malcolm Stitt’s guitar and Neil Harland on double bass. The music reflects the development in the quintet’s group interaction since their debut CD two years ago, and the vibrant playing injects life and spirit into both slow airs and up-tempo jigs and reels.

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