When it comes to fiddle styles of the world, Chris Haigh wrote the book. And the website! And he’s currently working on the T shirt. Actually the T shirt may not be true, but he’s already published “Fiddling around the World” on Spartan Press, and “The Fiddle Handbook” comes out on Hal Leonard on 2009. His website at www.fiddlingaround.co.uk is probably the most viewed fiddle site on the web, with detailed information on almost every imaginable fiddle style.
It was whilst researching his latest book that Chris decided to put together this solo album, “Off the Wall”. He has already appeared on over 60 albums, either with his own bands (Kremlinaires, Tziganarama, Klezmania UK) or as a session musician (Alison Moyet, Morcheeba, All about Eve, Oumou Sangari, Michael Ball, James Galway, Steps).
On “Off the Wall” Chris spans a wide range of genres (Texas Swing, Shetland, Irish, Klezmer, Russian and Balkan), often with a distinctive jazzy twist. He is joined by some great guest musicians – Brendan Power (Harmonica), Leon Hunt (banjo), Alan Dunn (accordion and piano), Stewart Curtis (clarinet), Andrew Tulloch and Richard Bolton (guitars), Raph Mizraki and Viktor Obsust (double bass).
And for fiddle players who buy this album there’s a special treat! Email Chris at the address on the album and he’ll send you, absolutely free, a pdf with all the copyright free sheet music (which is most of the tracks). Now there’s an offer you don’t see every day!
HERE'S A REVIEW FROM FIDDLE ON MAGAZINE:
On this CD master multi-style fiddler Chris Haigh takes a highly appealing tour through jazzgrass, Texas Swing, Bluegrass, Irish, Scottish, Macedonian, Klezmer, Russian, Galician and Romanian fiddle music. Very much a tour in the circular sense I feel, because the centre ground of most of the CD is Chris's very tasty "swing violin" playing. If any purists should start muttering about "cultural tourism" I'd recommend a visit to Chris's website where individual pages show the depth of his knowledge of each fiddle style and the context from which it flows. If the Scottish track put me in mind of Willy Hunter, I'm still not about to question Chris's style! The star track for me was Mi Bon Siach, a Hebrew tune. It's a solo album, but with first class backing from a fine line-up of musicians. Altogether very enjoyable, and as a bonus for fiddle players, if you buy the cd Chris will let you have the dots for the non-copyright tunes. Even though there's an excellent page about English style fiddle on the website, Chris doesn't address this style on the website.I wonder why not!
Fiddle On Magazine, Winter/Spring 2009