Alasdair Fraser & Paul Machlis

Legacy of the Scottish Fiddler, Vol. 1


Listeners in waistcoats and fine gowns gather in a 19th-century Victorian mansion’s exquisite parlor, above the hot squalor of the poor, to enjoy music. What they hear is what Fraser and Machlis do on this CD: flowing melodies with an occasional dance tune played beautifully by the best Scottish fiddler of this generation, accompanied by piano with music that inspires as it relaxes. Fraser and Machlis have released three albums as guiding lights of the Celtic-world fusion band Skyedance in the ’90s, but their souls are on display here as they honor Scottish composers of the last 250 years—Neil Gow, Captain Simon Fraser. Though their The Road North in 1983 showed you could combine classic melody with new-age sheen, these are played straight. And William Marshall’s melancholic “Chapel Keithack,” coupled with William Gadiner’s “Belmont,” is enough to make you weep for the wicked ways of the world.