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Shak’Um’Dud Records SUD001

A freelance musician and composer working in a variety of genres, David Grubb has wide ranging performance experience in small groups, wider ensembles, sinfonia and orchestral settings. Classically trained, his passion for folk and traditional music is tellingly evinced by his yearlong ‘Fiddle Tune a Day’ social media project, originally conceived as part of his personal development on that instrument.

This eight track debut release of original compositions inspired by cityscapes certainly reflects his liberally open eared approach to music. Fundamentally contemporary in styling, it draws on classical, jazz and folk roots with ample Celtic inspiration. It also subtly references African, continental café and Québécois music and uses found sound collage to evoke, for example, bustling streetscape hubbub. Every piece comprises a sophisticated sequence of composed movements protean in their dynamic range. To achieve the pulsing ebb and flow of moods and atmospheres, the several instruments are skilfully interwoven and layered so as to explore and develop the melodies and present some exquisite bridging interludes.

David’s lead fiddle work varies from the slow, emotionally charged and touching through the swiftly sinuous on to manic jigging! His ensemble accompanists provide piano, trumpet, guitars, double bass, accordion, flute, whistle, clarinet, electronics, ‘sound collage’ and some vocal contribution. Co-arrangers Corben Lee (piano) and Daniel Whitting (guitars) are very key contributors and the sonic and rhythmic intelligence of Jon Reynolds’ percussion work is particularly noteworthy. Highly melodious, appealingly catchy, even hypnotic at times and often filmic in feel, this is a fine composition cross-pollinating a wide range of musical styles to fresh effect.

Kevin T. Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 105 of The Living Tradition magazine.