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Vertical Records VERTCD090

Fourth solo release (following Morning Rory, Fused and Wired) from the virtuoso flautist and multi-instrumentalist offering another feast – 12 courses, sets of some 30 tunes – of aural fusion food, blending elements of jazz and world music with his usual Irish/Celtic base. The tunes are mostly his own compositions, often written during, and indeed testament to his worldwide peregrinations. They are orchestrated and delivered with the now familiar pantheon of players - Dezi Donnelly (fiddle), Donald Shaw (keyboards/production), Ewen Vernal (basses), John Joe Kelly (bodhran), James Mackintosh (drums/percussion), Ed Boyd (guitar), Parvinder Bharat (tabla) – and a range of additional guests, testifying to his musical profile and prolific crossover associations, including Tommy Smith (saxophone), Donal and Manus Lunny, Heidi Talbot, John McCusker, and Anna Massie.

The tunes are tightly arranged, and punchy, rhythmic and buoyant in quality. Frenzied foot tapping is, at times, difficult to contain. Trumpeter Neil Yates’ brass arrangements, with which some tunes are studded, amount to funk spasms, at times recalling vintage Earth, Wind and Fire!  McGoldrick’s playing on flute and uilleann pipes is, as always, rapid fire, instinctive and awesomely accurate. In addition to some mandolin, dobro and guitar, he sings – supported by Heidi Talbot – on the tune Waterbound by Dirk Powell, and has occasioned some very favourable comments. Lovers of Flook, Capercaillie et al., perhaps unfamiliar with Michael’s solo work, should explore this and his previous recordings.

Kevin T Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 85 of The Living Tradition magazine.