Everything on the disc has an air of rhapsodic improvisation. Moods meld
and change; fade and define. When a piece ends it ends without a great sense
of inevitable conclusion. Many voices and influences pass through the bessemer
blast of Kennedy's imagination. The first track is a phantasmagoric dream
- a meltdown of jazz, Indian music, classical music and Irish revelry held
in active suspension. At first vigorous and assertive then come whisper-quiet
insectiform fanfares and at 6.50 wild slides and floods of light and dark.
There is no doubting the virtuosic musical display. Kennedy's classical
background enables him to draw on the wilder reaches of the repertoire.
Little Wing is a poteen of quiet rhythmic figures, still small Irish voices
(remember that Kennedy is an irish name), Celtic roots, E.J. Moeran, RVW's
Lark Ascending, flamenco and Blues. 1983
(A Merman I Should Turn
To Be) has a tangy innocence, percussive sounds made by striking the
violin and every trick in screeching, crooning and keening. Drifting is
a synthesis of fragments (some of which reminded me of the Walton violin
concerto) and strange creeping creatures escaped from dreams. Fire
smoulders, blasts and flames. Purple Haze (there is an acknowledgement
to the Jimi Hendrix estate) is a brimming alembic of Kennedy's flammably
creative juices with overtones anarchic invention worthy of Percy Grainger
and Charles Ives. Ablaze with rhapsodic invention, the violin is always at
the axis of Kennedy's whirling universe.
The disc will appeal to anyone at all drawn to the Gaelic ethnic (my son
mentioned that it reminded him of the album L'Heritages des Celtes'), World
Music, New Age and Avant-Garde jazz movements. Others (including me) will
find themselves challenged and pleasurably surprised by the end results.