Tag Archives: Bela Fleck

Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer to Perform Together in NYC

L to R: Edgar Meyer, Béla Fleck and Zakir Hussain – Photo © 2018 Alan Messer

The Town Hall has announced a concert featuring Bela Fleck on banjo, Zakir Hussain on tabla and Edgar Meyer on double bass. The performance will take place Thursday, November 15, 2018 at The Town Hall in New York City.

Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer plus Rakesh Chaurasia on flute will deliver a set where they combine bluegrass, classical, and South Asian musical traditions.

Fleck met Meyer in 1983 at a festival in Aspen, sat in “for a few songs” that night and “We have stayed in touch ever since, and we are deep friends.” The banjoist and bassist teamed up for a double concerto for the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in 2004. Its success led to another commission, for which they called on the dazzling Hussain for percussion.

Béla and I were both very big fans of Zakir, at least since high school,” Meyer said in an interview. “For most of our lives, he’s been one of the musicians we admired the most.”

The result was the remarkable The Melody of Rhythm; Triple Concerto & Music for Trio, recorded with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Slatkin and released on CD in 2009.

The Town Hall
123 West 43rd Street (between 6th Avenue and Broadway)
New York, NY 10036
Tickets at The Town Hall Box Office 212-997-6661 or Ticketmaster

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Top American Roots Music Acts at Savannah Music Festival 2018

Savannah Music Festival has announced its 2018 programming. The festival will take place March 29th through April 14th, 2018, at several venues throughout Savannah’s Historic District.

In the American roots area, bluegrass sensations Rhonda Vincent & The Rage and Claire Lynch Band will share the stage on opening night, followed the next day by the Mission Temple Fireworks Revival with Paul Thorn Band and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

Songwriter-guitarist Margaret Glaspy is set to perform on a double bill with Argentine composer, singer and guitarist Juana Molina.

Tulsa’s John Moreland will share an alt-country bill with Nashville songwriter and guitarist Aaron Lee Tasjan.

New acoustic music projects include Hawktail and the Savannah Music Festival debut of Kittel & Co., guitarist Tommy Emmanuel plays on a co-bill with Jayme Stone’s Folklife and the original production The Voice is a Traveler features Moira Smiley and Anna & Elizabeth.

 

Rosanne Cash & John Leventhal at Savannah Music Festival 2015 – Photo by Frank Stewart

 

Rosanne Cash & John Leventhal will return to the Lucas stage as a duo and Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives are set to play Ships of the Sea, as do the North Mississippi Allstars.

Recent MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient Rhiannon Giddens will present her first theater show at Savannah Music Festival, and Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn return with music from their new album, Echo in the Valley.

For ticket information and the rest of the programming, including classical music, world music, jazz theatrical productions and films go to www.savannahmusicfestival.org.

headline photo: Rhonda Vincent & The Rage

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Artist Profiles: Bela Fleck

Bela Fleck in 2009

 

Bela Fleck is often considered the leading banjo player in the world. He was born on July 10, 1958, and raised in New York City. Named after composer Bela Bartok, Bela picked up the banjo at age 15 after being fascinated by the bluegrass playing of Flatt & Scruggs. He began experimenting with playing bebop on the banjo in high school.

In 1982, he joined the progressive bluegrass band New Grass Revival, where he made a name for himself in the country-bluegrass world. At the same time he was releasing a series of solo albums for Rounder Records.

He collaborated with Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer and Mark O’Connor in an acoustic super-group called Strength in Numbers. The group released an iconic album titled The Telluride Session (MCA) in 1989.

In 1989 Bela formed the Flecktones. The group made its self-titled debut recording in 1990 by playing a “blu-bop” mix of jazz and bluegrass and soon became a commercially successful, critically-acclaimed and award-winning band. Fleck, the only musician to be nominated for Grammys in jazz, bluegrass, pop, country, spoken word, Christian, composition and world music categories, also recorded solo releases.

 

Bela Fleck & The Flecktones

 

Bela Fleck began the decade of 2000 by signing a deal with Sony Music. The first release was Outbound, that featured the band performing with an all-star group of guest artists including vocalists Shawn Colvin and Jon Anderson (of the group Yes), guitarist Adrian Belew, oboe player Paul McCandless, and keyboardist John Medeski (of the jazz jam-band Medeski, Martin & Wood). Like previous Flecktones albums, the music on Outbound is a mix of styles-from bluegrass to jazz to world music-that is often built around Fleck’s concept of “the banjo being weird.”

In 2003, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones released Little Worlds, the first new studio album from the group since 2000’s Grammy-winning Outbound. Produced by Bela Fleck, the new album is a monumental work on 3 CDs and includes many special guests, including Sam Bush, The Chieftains, Jerry Douglas, Branford Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Nickel Creek, Derek Trucks, and Bernie Williams. The album is a collaborative effort showcasing the ever-evolving group dynamics of the band.

The ambitious Little Worlds is an eclectic, yet cohesive, collection of 27 musical pieces. The limited-edition 3 disc set includes liner notes by Bela Fleck and a 24 page booklet filled with photos taken by the Flecktones and their crew. The group began work on the album in October 2001, with the original intention of creating a “lean and mean” “no rules” record with just the four band members: Bela Fleck (banjo), Victor Wooten (bass), Future Man (synth-axe drumitar), and Jeff Coffin (tenor and alto sax). As the recording process progressed, it became apparent that these were no ordinary sessions and the floodgates of musical inspiration and diversity had opened. Ranging from jazz to Gaelic airs and bluegrass to classical and world music Little Worlds is the band’s most adventurous album.

Throw Down Your Heart, Tales from the Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3: Africa Sessions (2009) chronicles Fleck’s musical journey to Africa to explore the little known African roots of the banjo. Bela’s boundary-breaking musical adventure took him to Uganda, Tanzania, The Gambia, and Mali, and provided a glimpse of the beauty and complexity of African music.

In 2006, jazz keyboardist Chick Corea and Béla Fleck joined together to explore the interactions between the piano and banjo. Corea was an admirer of Fleck’s bluegrass-meets-jazz band the Flecktones and Fleck had been inspired by Corea’s pioneering jazz-rock fusion band, Return to Forever. The two musicians recorded The Enchantment, released in 2007. This collaboration also led to multiyear international live tours.

 

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn

 

Béla Fleck and his wife (also an acclaimed banjo player) Abigail Washburn released Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn (Rounder Records) in 2014. The recording featured new music, Appalachian murder ballads, gospel, chamber pieces and blues. Both musicians are generally credited for revitalizing and revolutionizing the banjo and decided it was time to collaborate. “We didn’t want any other instruments on there, because we’re into this idea that we’re banjo players, and that should be enough,” said Béla. “Sometimes when you add other instruments, you take away from the ability of the banjo to show all its colors, which are actually quite beautiful.”

 

 

Béla Fleck and Chick Corea followed up in 2015 with a recording titled Two (Concord Jazz), a live double album with material from The Enchantment, along with Corea and Fleck classic pieces and a few additional new compositions.

 

 

Discography:

Solo albums

Crossing the Tracks (Rounder Records, 1979)
Natural Bridge (Rounder Records, 1982)
Deviation (Rounder Records, 1984)
Double Time (Rounder Records, 1984)
Inroads (Rounder Records, 1986)
Daybreak, compilation (Rounder Records, 1987)
Places, compilation (Rounder Records, 1988)
Drive (Rounder Records, 1988; SACD reissue: Mobile Fidelity, 2004)
Tales From The Acoustic Planet (Warner Brothers, 1995)
The Bluegrass Sessions: Tales from the Acoustic Planet, Vol. 2 (Warner Brothers, 1999)
Perpetual Motion (Sony Classical, 2001)
Music For Two (Sony Classical, 2004)
Tales From The Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3: Africa Sessions (Rounder Records, 2009)
Throw Down Your Heart – Africa Sessions Part 2 (2010)
The Impostor (Mercury Records, 2013)
Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn (Rounder Records, 2014)
Banjo Banjo, with Abigail Washburn (Rounder Records, 2015)

With the Flecktones:

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones (Warner Bros. Records, 1990)
Flight of the Cosmic Hippo (Warner Bros. Records, 1991)
UFO Tofu (Warner Bros. Records, 1992)
Three Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Warner Bros. Records, 1993)
Live Art (Warner Bros. Records, 1996)
Left of Cool (Warner Bros. Records, 1998)
Greatest Hits of the 20th Century (Warner Bros. Records, 1999)
Outbound (Columbia, 2000)
Live at the Quick (Columbia, 2002)
Little Worlds (Columbia, 2003)
Ten From Little Worlds (Columbia, 2003)
The Hidden Land (Sony, 2006)
Jingle All the Way (Rounder, 2008)
Rocket Science (eOne, 2011)

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Savannah Music Festival 2009 Will Present the Most Artistically Diverse Season in the History of the Organization

Mariza
Mariza

Savannah (Georgia), USA – The Savannah Music Festival (SMF) announces its most artistically diverse lineup to date for the upcoming 2009 festival, including several commissioned works and a wealth of original productions showcasing a wide variety of American and international musical traditions.

Committed to enhancing the cultural landscape of Savannah, SMF programs combine elegance and soul in a way that mirrors the history and culture of the remarkable city. The unique musical arts event is one of the highlights of springtime on the southeastern U.S. coast and a distinctive destination for cultural travelers.

The 2009 festival takes place between March 19 and April 5 in historic downtown Savannah and features more than 100 musical performances in intimate settings.

Original Productions & Other Highlights

• Long Time Travelin’, a celebration of American folksong traditions: Rayna Gellert of Uncle Earl with Patrick Sauber, old-time balladeer Tim Eriksen, National Heritage Fellow Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, the Tatnall River Shapenote Singers, and host Jim Lauderdale, an acclaimed Nashville singer-songwriter

• Jazz Now and Forever, a series of jazz greats including Dianne Reeves, Chick Corea & John McLaughlin’s Five Peace Band featuring Christian McBride, Kenny Garrett and Brian Blade, and The Clayton Brothers

• The Gershwin Songbook, jazz pianist Marcus Roberts and classical pianist Sebastian Knauer performing the greatest compositions of this masterful American composer

• The Blues was Born Here, an authentic southern blues review showcasing Piedmont blues masters Cephas & Wiggins on a one-time only bill with Georgia’s own Beverly “Guitar” Watkins

• Resplendent Recitals, a series highlighting the world’s finest recitalists including tenor Ian Bostridge, guitarist Manuel Barrueco, and pianists Garrick Ohlsson, Marc-Andre Hamelin and Sebastian Knauer

• Big World of Music, leading international artists such as fado star Mariza, Mike Marshall & Darol Anger with Väsen, Bela Fleck’s Africa Project featuring virtuosos Toumani Diabate, Vusi Mahlasela, and D’Gary, and Indian maestros Zakir Hussain & Shiv Kumar Sharma.

• The 16th annual American Traditions Competition, some of the nation’s most talented aspiring vocalists competing for more than $30,000 in prize monies

• The three-night Savannah Jazz Party featuring Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Howard Paul and Ken Peplowski; the Ellis Marsalis Quartet; and the 2009 Piano Showdown with solos and duos by pianists Eddie Palmieri, Henry Butler, Aaron Goldberg and Bob Seeley

• The Complete Brandenburg Concertos performed by the Academy of Ancient Music with Richard Egarr

• Organ Stops, a six-concert series featuring such internationally acclaimed organists as Janette Fishell

• Everybody Dance Now, a three-concert series of dance parties featuring Eddie Palmieri & La Perfecta II, Zydeco great Cedric Watson, and the rising young Cajun ensemble, Feufollet

• Georgia On My Mind, a four-concert series including Savannah’s own Bobby Lee Rodgers & Friends in a one-time only event, as well as the Marcus Printup Quartet, Caroline Herring, and Sacred Harp Singing with Tim Eriksen

• Swing Central, a three-day high school jazz band and competition capped off by Battle Royale, the closing night finale concert featuring a cutting contest with trumpeters, saxophonists, trombonists and rhythm sections. Featured performers: Marcus Roberts Trio, The Clayton Brothers, Wycliffe Gordon, Terrell Stafford, Scotty Barnhart and others

• Roots & Twang, a varied series featuring Neko Case with Crooked Fingers, Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, The Infamous Stringdusters and The Lovell Sisters, and The Blues was Born Here

• Tap master Savion Glover, combining two different projects on a Savannah stage

Tickets go on sale at 9 am EST on November 13 and are available online at www.savannahmusicfestival.org or by phone at 912-525-5050.

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