What happens when an in-demand accompanist records as a band-leader? The result can be impressive, as guitarist and fiddler Ron Jappy demonstrates with Vincular, his debut album under his own name. “Vincular” means a connection or link – his role in this “celebration of the accompanist”, as he is joined by numerous musicians with whom he has performed in the past.
Based in Glasgow, Jappy grew up in the Moray village of Findochty, competing on the fiddle competition circuit. While studying at the RSAMD, now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, he underwent a transformative experience, attending a concert in which piper Ross Ainslie was accompanied by guitarist Innes Watson. “I remember it to this day,” he says. “It was very much a pivotal moment for me. I’d never seen up close how detailed the accompaniment of music might be.”
Now 31, Jappy toured the world as a fiddler but has gone on to play as guitar and piano accompanist with such notable folk names as singers Ainsley Hamill and Hannah Rarity, harpist Rachel Hair and groups including Skerryvore and the Scott Wood Band. Piper Wood, in fact, co-produced Vincular at his studio and, says Jappy, “when we went into rehearsal with Scott, fiddler Mhairi Mackinnon and drummer Mark Scobie, it was like putting the Scott Wood Band together again.”
They were joined by others including accordionist Grant McFarlane, guitarist Euan Malloch and singer Hamill: “All of them I specifically chose because I’d loved working with them through my role as accompanist. It felt so natural and the progression of ideas just flowed the whole time.”
Some of the music on Vincular is fiery stuff. Jappy’s choice for the Scotsman Sessions, however, is a gentler composition, A Day to Remember, written for the wedding of two friends. Here, thanks to multi-tracking wizardry, the accompanist accompanies himself, playing fiddle, guitar and piano.
For more information, and to order the new album, see www.ronjappy.com
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