The Boxing Reel video from Kittel & Co

Compass Records has released a music video to highlight their new album, Whorls, from Kittel & Co., surely among the most exciting young string bands to form in recent years. Before people had heard the first note from this bunch, critics and string music aficionados were expressing high expectations, largely because the ensemble was being led by acclaimed violinist, Jeremy Kittel.

Only 34 years of age, Kittel has been winning awards since he was still in school. He received his masters in jazz violin from the prestigious Manhattan School of Music and performed as a soloist with a number of orchestras before joining the Turtle Island Quartet when he was 25. His love for traditional fiddle music has led to him being named the National Scottish Fiddle Champion in the US, after twice winning the junior competition.

For his new group Jeremy chose rising mandolin prodigy Josh Pinkham and Canadian guitarist Quinn Bachand, along with noted cellist Nathaniel Smith, who has worked prominently with Sarah Jarosz, and hammered dulcimer virtuoso, Simon Chrisman. Whorls is primarily an instrumental project, featuring a mix of traditional fiddle music and original compositions, and a lone vocal provided by Kittel with support from Jarosz.

The video offers an odd perspective of their recording process, which was captured live, and as Kittel says, in the old time way.

“These instruments have a rich tradition of playing dance music; they were the way everyone got down, say, 150 years ago. Acoustic string bands in a room. Locking this in, rhythmically and sonically, finding the balance of intensity—that’s been really exciting.”

Here’s a piece of The Boxing Reel from those sessions…

Whorls is available wherever quality acoustic music is sold. Check Jeremy’s web site for information on their current tour.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.