Tim Kliphuis Trio

OK, so you may have missed them last Wednesday, but that was actually only a taster for their upcoming UK Tour which starts on October 12, so you’ve still got a chance to jump in the car/bus/train and get yourself to Inverness / Boat of Garten / Colvend / West Kilbride / Helensburgh before they finally leave Scotland and drift off south of the Border (actually worth the trip even if you did have to go to England!)

It’s three years since this group last visited Strathearn, but this time the shared pleasure was enhanced by the fact that 2017 marks the 10th Anniversary of their formation and it’s fair to say that, over the past decade, they seem to have pretty well got the hang of things. Actually, to be serious and sincere, these are three players at the absolute top of their game, whose nonchalant musicianship and virtuosity belie their total artistry and command of what they do. Tim Kliphuis is the violinist, Nigel Clark the guitarist and Roy Percy plays the bass, and each is a miracle of clarity, invention and sensitivity in his own right. Together they are a complete musical engine, mining the whole gamut of musical styles, and re-inventing the classical, jazz and folk repertoire with their own unique and joyful approach. Each one is a master improviser, alternately occupying the spotlight with total aplomb when called upon and then providing accompaniment and support with equal verve and distinction. Particular delights include Roy Percy’s infectious slap bass and the incomparable sound of rapid passagework played in immaculate unison on fiddle and guitar by Kliphuis and Clark (the latter hails from Dublin and there’s often more than a hint of the Irish when he’s involved). 

The term “crossover” doesn’t even begin to describe what they do and would belittle them. Their Crieff concert, for instance, brought together Stéphane Grapelli (of course), Hoagy Carmichael, Vivaldi, Pachelbel, Handel, Django Reinhardt, Émile Stern, Aaron Copland, Paganini, Richard Strauss, Gabriel Fauré, to name but a few – it was like a benign musical whirlwind which you just didn’t want to end. The joins are so seamless that there seems no incongruity in finding yourself crossing from the Hot Club de France to the Italian Baroque, perhaps by way of a riotous hoedown or jig. It is indeed, all music, as Kliphuis was reportedly advised by his mentor Grapelli – “so play what you love”. They plainly loved it all and the audience did too.

Focused entirely in the moment, so intimate and so utterly live, this was a truly fabulous evening. 

Next concert: Christina Lawrie (piano) plays Beethoven, Grieg, Mendelssohn and Schubert – Wed 25 Oct at 7.30 in St Andrew’s Hall, Crieff. Howard Duthie.