Kevin Burke and Cal Scott, Suite (Loftus Music, 2010)

Kevin Burke is a legendary Irish fiddler, having been part of The Bothy Band, Patrick Street, and the Celtic Fiddle Festival in addition to a successful solo performer in a 40-year career. Guitarist Cal Scott has a bit more of an eclectic background; he performs with folk bands, records jazz albums, and composes and arranges music for cartoons and commercials. The two current Oregon residents first pooled their talents in 2007 with their CD Across the Black River. Now they return with a new CD called Suite, in which they perform traditional and self-composed Irish fiddle tunes with a bit of a classical twist.

Suite opens conventionally enough, with a set of jigs, a set of reels, and then a waltz. The most interesting section of the album, though, is the four-part "Irish Session Suite," for which Burke leads a string quartet through sets of Irish traditional tunes arranged in a classical style by Scott. It's actually a very unusual take on Irish music, but it's the kind of novelty that works well here in the hands of very capable musicians. The remaining two tracks are sets of hornpipes, the first of which is laid back and the second of which is more punchy.

On Suite, Kevin Burke and Cal Scott take a unique approach to performing and arranging Irish fiddle standards, with pleasing results. Combining two distinct musical styles, whose compatibility is not inherently obvious, is a lot harder than Burke and Scott make it sound.

Overall grade: B+

reviewed by Scott

"Stella's Waltz"

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