Traditional Irish Music On Flute And Tin Whistle

By Laurence Nugent

Two comments

Traditional Irish Music On Flute And Tin Whistle

As of January 2002, Larry Nugent has put out three solo albums. The album submitted here is his first one, which came out in 1996, shortly after his third all-Ireland win on the tin whistle. In addition to Larry himself, the album features a pretty heavy hitting lineup of guest musicians-many of whom are from the Chicago trad. scene-including Pat Broaders (Mandocello), Liz Carrol (Fiddle), Marty Fahey (paino), Arty McGlynn (guitar), Jackie Moran (Bohran), Sean Nugent (Larry’s father on fiddle), Eoin O’Neil (Bouzouki), and John Williams (Concertina). As one might expect, the album features Larry’s whistle playing, which is no less than amazing. However, his flute playing is also featured on a good number of tracks. His style on the whistle I have found to be quite reminiscent of the playing of Josie McDermott and Sean Ryan, but in my view he takes whistle playing to new levels. Larry’s playing in general, but particularly on the whistle, is inexorably dedicated to the rhythm, which he highlights through a considerable amount of tonguing as well as with surprising bursts of syncopated variations and repetitive ornamentation that in all I find really bring tunes to life. Larry’s version of Lord Gordon’s is perhaps the most exciting and interesting example of this. Larry’s hard-driving rhythmic style draws as sharp contrast with the more flowing and legato style of, say, Vinnie Kilduff. I have met some people, however, who find that Larry’s penchant for various sorts of rhythmic "outbursts" just go too far, perhaps pushing tunes beyond the pale of what might properly be called "traditional." I personally don’t hold this view, but learning Larry’s settings to tunes can indeed go against the grain of common session settings. Larry’s setting of the Mountain Road is a good example of this-definitely not session friendly. Be that as it may, this is a great album no matter how you look at it.