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MARCO FABBRI - Crossroads 

MARCO FABBRI - Crossroads 
Private Label MARCO01

Italians: they come over here, they learn our language, they open great restaurants, they sell us the world's best ice-cream, they even play pretty decent rugby, and now they master our music! Where will it end? Let's hope it doesn't! I've reviewed a couple of excellent Italian albums recently, by fluter Michel Balatti and box-player Roberto Tombesi, both great musicians. Fiddler Marco Fabbri is on the way to becoming equally good, but I wouldn't put him in quite the same class yet. However, his album, Crossroads, gets such a boost from a fantastic selection of guests that it is definitely first rate. John McSherry, Kevin Crawford, Christy Leahy, Dónal O'Connor - the list goes on, including several Italian names which are unknown to me. Together, these musicians have created a recording which is rich and varied, full of fine tunes, spanning Irish, Italian, Breton, English and North American traditions.

Marco kicks off with a set of reels accompanied by Eoghan O'Brien. I must admit this track didn't really spark my interest, but the following jigs with McSherry on whistle and pipes definitely made me sit up and pay attention. The Sicilian waltz in D minor is equally captivating, with Maurizio Geri on guitar, and is a good opportunity to appreciate Fabbri's fiddle style: very straight, with a deep tone, relatively little melodic or rhythmic ornamentation, and no real swing to the music. He can certainly power through the tunes, as he shows on Charlie Lennon's lovely reel, Master Seamus, but it takes the likes of Crawford or Leahy to add that spark that lifts simple melodies to a different level.

Half the tracks on Crossroads are Irish, and the other half are spread across other traditions, but mostly from Italy. Marco plays tunes for the old Italian dances: the tarantella, the bergomasco (both Mauro and Mirco), and the perigordino: I particularly liked Tarantella Nicodemo, despite a few rough edges. See what you make of his forays into English and Breton music. For me, the Irish tracks are the most impressive: exemplary accompaniment from Paul McSherry makes the most of the fine reel, Launching The Boat, while Christy leaps into the final set of jigs to add his magic touch. There's a great pair of slides too which benefit from that North Cregg red diesel. Check out Marco's music on his website while we still have access to the EU!

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 116 of The Living Tradition magazine.