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Award winning multi-instrumentalist and composer Fraser Fifield is one of Scotland's most recogisable and versatile musicians. In duo with guitarist Graeme Stephen (Scottish Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year 2011/12) distilling the fruits of their 15-year partnership, they magically explore and expand the folk/jazz interface, incorporating original material and live electronica.
Both a jazz musician and a folk musician, Fifield has recorded 4 albums as leader released to date on his own Tanar label, a fifth is expected later in 2012.
He has performed with a large number of artists over a 15 year career including Old Blind Dogs, Salsa Celtica, Wolfstone, Capercaillie, Donnie Munro, Afro Celt Sound System, Cuillin Music, Shooglenifty, Unusual Suspects, La Banda Europa, True North Orchestra, Mick West, Kathleen MacInnes, Cathie-Ann MacPhee, Calum Martin, Aidan O' Rourke, Martin Green, Inge Thomson, Ayth McCormack, Phil Bancroft, Graeme Stephen Sextet, Mr McFall's Chamber, Moishes Bagel, Yani Lang, Nedyalko Nedyalkov, Georgi Petrov, Hidden Orchestra, Chris Stout, Finlay MacDonald, James Ross, Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Ailie Robertson, Rachel Hair, Maeve McKinnon, Malcolm Jones, Jim Sutherland, Calum Malcolm ...and many many more.
The legacy of innovation left by the untimely passing of Martyn Bennett in 2005 has been in many ways picked up and carried on by Fraser, albeit with differing musical styles. Fraser's relationship with the versatile string ensemble Mr McFall's Chamber was initiated by Martyn when too sick to fulfill his role in recording his composition for string quartet and smallpipes and endures to date. Recognised by the Scots Trad Music Awards with nominations as Instrumentalist and Composer in successive years, Fraser is also an alumni of the artist development scheme 'Take 5' run by Serious Music and is one two UK artists chosen to participate in the first edition of 'Take 5: Europe' in 2012.
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Composer of the Year (nominated - Scots Trad Music Awards 2010)
Scottish Arts Council - Artist of the Month
Take 5 (artist development) 2010
Instrumentalist of the Year (nominated - Scots Trad Music Awards 2009)
Arts Foundation Fellowship - Nominated 2010
Take 5 Europe (artist development) 2012
Traces of Thrace - Fraser Fifield Band with Nedyalko Nedyalkov and Georgi PetrovScots meet Bulgarians and magic happens....... ****"From the opening notes of this remarkable CD - a collaboration of musicians from the Western and Eastern extremes of Europe, the British Isles and Bulgaria - it is clear that an unusual and startling imagination is at work. Above an intricate, sweetly toned canonic ostinato, played on rural-sounding flutes, the sounds of the gadulka folk fiddle weave a melody reflecting the rhythms of speech. In the background,a guitar pensively wanders upwards and downwards, constantly revisiting the same few notes. The sound of the overlapping five-note scales begins to shimmer and dissolve, like the chiming of bells. There is a sudden halt, and the mood darkens, as the entire band hurl themselves into a unison melody over a dry and sinewy groove on drum kit. It's a haunting sound, serene yet vital, and quite unlike anything else you might have heard.Fifield, the bandleader, plays the low whistle, highland pipes, and soprano saxophone, and he and his band are joined by Georgi Petrov on gadulka and Nedyalko Nedyalkov on the kaval, the liquid sounding rim-blown flute. The pentatonicism that pervades the entire album and draws it together allows the music to occupy an unmapped border country, drawing on but undefined by the Celtic and Bulgarian traditions of the musicians themselves - enriched and at the same time destabilised by intimations of the gamelan, Delta blues, Malian string bands, and the British pastoral jazz traditions of such performers as John Surman. Played by musicians at the top of their game, the compositions sound natural, and almost organic, but closer listening reveals that they are tightly organised and highly sophisticated. A magnificent achievement."Publication: SONGLINES
Fraser Fifield Trio: Slow Stream *****"The steadily growing overlap beyween the Scottish folk and jazz scenes has been a rich source of invention in recent years, but even in this context, multi-instrumentalist Fraser Fifield has emerged as one of todays's outstanding talents. His mastery of the soprano saxophone, compositional gifts and fluency in both traditional and jazz idioms have prompted comparisons with Norwegian legend Jan Garbarek. Fifield, though, is also a brilliant exponent of the low whistle and the Scottish smallpipes. The pipes don't actually feature here, on his second recording - and the first with his now-regular trio, flanked by Stuaty Ritchie on drums and Graeme Stephen on electric guitar - but the feritle breadth of technique, traditions and material opened up by this instrumental toolkit resonate through both the writing and delivery. Most of the tracks are originals, alongside a few thouroughly reinterpreted traditional tunes, but in either vein, Fifield doesn't so much fuse different styles - including jazz, rock, Celtic, Scandinavian and Eastern European elements - as sublimate the need for such distinctions. He's found the ideal musical soulmates, too, in Ritchie and Stephen, whose intelligent sensitive responses to Fifield's dynamic lead round out an album full of excitement and lyricism."Publication: Sunday Herald, 26th June
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