Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer Conjure a New Sound


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On August 25th, E1 Music will release The Melody of Rhythm, an unparalleled collaboration between banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck, composer and double-bass master Edgar Meyer and Zakir Hussain.

Arguably the world's greatest tabla player, followed by a 19-city tour of North American concert halls in September and October.

An understanding of musical tradition has led all three of these musical explorers to this common crossroad. “When I play with Zakir, I’m not an Indian musician but I can learn enough to be respectful in my ignorance. We can find a place to meet,” says Fleck, “America’s most celebrated banjoist” (LA Times) who holds the record for the artist nominated in the greatest number of Grammy categories. “Along with carrying the top level of Indian classical music in his veins, Zakir is incredible at understanding music from all over the world and collaborates effectively with an amazingly diverse number of musicians.” In 2009, Hussain earned a Grammy in the Best Contemporary World category for Global Drum Project.

“Working with Bela and Edgar is an experience that transcends musical collaboration,” adds Zakir, recently praised by the New York Times as “peerless…fearsome technician but also a whimsical inventor.” “Certainly it is a creative effort unprecedented in my own life, a way of looking at melody and rhythm through their eyes, affording me another way of expressing myself through my instrument. Plus we're family!" “The give and take between musicians is often very defining. Ideally, I’m more focused on Bla and Zakir than I am on myself,” says Meyer. Hailed by the New Yorker as “the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively unchronicled history of his instrument,” Meyer and Fleck have been collaborating for more than 25 years, including the albums Music For Two, Uncommon Ritual and the Grammy-winning Perpetual Motion. “From the beginning, Bela's vision on the instrument transcended traditional expectations. Zakir also brings a complete redefining of tabla without any loss of traditional values.”

“Edgar is one of my longtime pals and influences. I’m thrilled to find a new way to collaborate with him,” add Fleck.

The centerpiece and catalyst for the album is “The Melody of Rhythm: Concerto,“ an unprecedented three-movement composition for banjo, double bass and tabla. Recorded live with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Leonard Slatkin, this highly rhythmic work soars, melding Indian classical music with American roots.

Originally commissioned by the Nashville Symphony in 2004, Edgar and Bela agreed their dream collaborator would be Zakir Hussain. “There was a lot Edgar and I wanted to learn from him – mathematics and harmonic musical concepts - and now we had something to offer him in return,” says Fleck, who developed a fascination with the tabla during a tour of India in the ‘80s. “This project feels like getting together with some brothers we hadn’t seen in some time.”

Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer will be on tour this Fall in support of The Melody of Rhythm.

Sept 13 Austin, TX Bass Hall / University of Texas

Sept 19-20 Honolulu, HI Blaisdell Arena

Sept 26 Portland, OR Oregon Symphony

Sept 29 Toronto, CAN Royal Conservatory

Sept 30 Utica, NY Stanley Theater

Oct 1 Princeton, NJ Princeton Conservatory

Oct 2 Lewisburg, PA Bucknell University

Oct 3 Albany, NY The Egg

Oct 4 Richmond, VA University of Richmond

Oct 6 Easton, PA Williams Center for the Arts

Oct 8 Knoxville, TN University of Knoxville

Oct 9 Louisville, KY KY Center for the Arts

Oct 11 Chapel Hill, NC Memorial Hall / UNC

Oct 15 Grinnell, IA Grinnell College

Oct 16 Goshen, IN Goshen College

Oct 18 Miami, FL Gusman Hall

Oct 20 Mesa, AZ Ikeda Theater

Oct 22 Los Angeles, CA Royce Hall / University of CA

Oct 24 Vancouver, CAN Chan Center

Oct 26 San Luis Obispo, CA Cal Poly Arts

Oct 28 San Francisco, CA SF Jazz Festival

Contact: Carla Parisi at [email protected]

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