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SESSION A9 - Session A9

SESSION A9 - Session A9
RAJ Records RAJ005

It would take more space than the editor allows to detail all the bands that the constituent members of Session A9 have played in, so the mere ability to get them all together for tours and recordings is quite something, but something well worth any hassle. The group features fiddlers Charlie McKerron, Gordon Gunn, Adam Sutherland and Kevin Henderson, with Marc Clement, guitarist and vocalist ; Brian McAlpine, piano and accordion; and David “Chimp” Robertson on percussion.

It’s this emphasis on the strings that gives the trademark A9 sound, with an impelling driving backdrop which is overlaid by the other instruments. This allows very sympathetic and innovative arrangements, which are complex without being fussy. It gives the material a depth which rewards the listener afresh every time you listen. The layering of the various component instruments is not only originally thought out and deftly played, but also superbly mixed so that every note is crystal clear. Listen for example to the way in which the opening tunes builds up from a gentle start to a blistering conclusion.

There’s a balance here between traditional numbers, original compositions and songs from the repertoires of composers as varied as Karine Polwart, John Martyn and Jackson Browne, giving the whole production lots of variety and range.

This is a band which burst on the scene some ten years ago, setting themselves challenging standards, which they are constantly pushing higher and higher. All in all, this is a release for everyone involved in its production to be well-pleased with.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 94 of The Living Tradition magazine.