Fire & Grace
Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas
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Alasdair Fraser is already well known and lauded as a Scots fiddle player, giving Natalie Haas (a member of Mark O'Connor's band) a lot to live up to. But she manages it with flying colors, and between them they take a virtual tour of Scotland and beyond. Some hundred years ago the mix of violin and cello was common in Scots music, but most probably not like this. Even on slower pieces like "Prince Charles' Last View of Scotland," the imagination and deftness to the playing demonstrate huge talents at work. On the faster pieces — which are numerous — Haas' cello becomes a bass counterpoint and underpinning to Fraser's wild but precise playing. The sharp tacks of mood as the album criss-crosses the bonnie land — ranging from the Shetlands to the mainland and even across the North Sea for "The Scandinavian" — is a joy, whether they're entertaining the lightness of "Josefin's Waltz" or the centerpiece of "Rob Roy Crosses the Minch," where both musicians are stretched to the absolute limits of their abilities, with exhilarating results for the listener. A future classic of a Scots album.
Born: 14 May 1955
Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s