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Bela Fleck


Just in case you aren't familiar with Béla Fleck, there are some who say he's the premiere banjo player in the world. Others claim that Béla has virtually reinvented the image and the sound of the banjo through a remarkable performing and recording career that has taken him all over the musical map and on a range of solo projects and collaborations. If you are familiar with Béla, you know that he just loves to play the banjo, and put it into unique settings. Born and raised in New York City, Béla began his musical career playing the guitar. In the early 1960's, while watching the Beverly Hillbillies, the bluegrass sounds of Flatt & Scruggs flowed out of the TV set and into his young brain. Earl Scruggs's banjo style hooked Béla's interest immediately


Rhapsody In Blue

Label: Self Produced/Thirty Tigers
Released: 2024
Track listing: Rhapsody in Blue(grass); Rhapsody in Blue(s); Unidentified Piece for Banjo; Rhapsody in Blue; Rialto Ripples.


Article: Album Review

Christian McBride, Edgar Meyer: But Who's Gonna Play The Melody?

Read "But Who's Gonna Play The Melody?" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

It is not known exactly how many duets of this nature have fallen into the lackluster bin of audio history. But rest assured that But Who's Gonna Play The Melody? is as far from that incalculable number as the moon is from the sun. Emblematic of Christian McBride's whole groove credo, everything falls into ...


Article: Live Review

Anat Cohen Tentet at Jazz Alley

Read "Anat Cohen Tentet at Jazz Alley" reviewed by Paul Rauch

Anat Cohen Tentet Jazz Alley Seattle, Washington February 27, 2024 The wonderfully diverse and swinging ten-piece ensemble led by clarinetist Anat Cohen doesn't have the opportunity to tour very often. Since the release of Happy Song (Anzic, 2017), the band's first release on the label that Cohen founded with ...


Article: Album Review

Bela Fleck: Rhapsody In Blue

Read "Rhapsody In Blue" reviewed by Doug Collette

It's a long way from India to Broadway, but Bela Fleck makes the journey in high style for Rhapsody in Blue. It follows the altogether exotic As We Speak (Thirty Tigers, 2023), the combination of which further a case for the banjoist/composer/bandleader as an eclectic musical explorer comparable to Pat Metheny. Beginning in the ...


As We Speak

Label: Thirty Tigers
Released: 2023
Track listing: Motion; The B Tune; Tradewinds Bengali; J Bhai; Rickety Karma; 1980; Owl's Misfortune; Pashto; Hidden Lake; Beast in the Garden; Conundrum; As We Speak.


Article: Album Review

Bela Fleck: As We Speak

Read "As We Speak" reviewed by Doug Collette

As We Speak is an emphatic continuation of banjoist Bela Fleck's eclectic adventures dating back to his high school days. It is thus only fitting that this LP's title alludes to the ongoing artistic process wherein creativity can ensue, virtually non-stop, no matter what other dialogue(s) might be going on at the time. In ...


Article: Live Review

Shakti 50th Anniversary Tour at Hill Auditorium

Read "Shakti 50th Anniversary Tour at Hill Auditorium" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

Shakti Hill Auditorium University Musical Society's 145th Annual Season Ann Arbor, Michigan September 14, 2023 Having learned his lessons well during his brief stay with Miles Davis in the late '60s, guitarist John McLaughlin has never let any grass grow under his feet, embracing many styles and following his creative ...


Article: Play This!

Jon Stickley Trio: Point to Point

Read "Jon Stickley Trio: Point to Point" reviewed by Geno Thackara

Cross Nickel Creek with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and you'll start getting close to Jon Stickley's neighborhood--but there's still a lot more in there to discover once you make your way around town. The JS3 starts with folk/bluegrass instrumentation (acoustic guitar/violin/drums) and adds dashes of anything from math-prog to Latin or Celtic, while the dazzling ...


Article: Live Review

Big Ears Festival 2023

Read "Big Ears Festival 2023" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Big Ears Festival Knoxville, Tennesse March 30-April 2, 2023 The second full edition after the pandemic found the Big Ears Festival still growing in attendance. Organizers responded by increasing the number of venues, including new ones like the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and ones that had not been used for some time, ...


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