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From JAZZIZ on Disc Summer 2011
By Bob Weinberg
Banjoist Béla Fleck has been a busy lad. His omnivorous musical appetites have compelled him toward collaborations with Melody of Rhythm cohorts Edgar Meyer and Zakir Hussain; indigenous African musicians; and modern-jazz icon Chick Corea. But Fleck also continues to work with Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, the band that put him on the map in the 1990s as a crossover fusion star. The group mounted a world tour last year, and have followed that up with the release of Rocket Science (eOne), for which they also have been touring this summer.
Teaming up once again with bass virtuoso Victor Wooten, and “drumitar”/drum-set master Future Man — and welcoming original Flecktone harmonicist Howard Levy back to the fold — Fleck is up to his usual standards, that is to say, “astounding.” His bright, buoyant compositions provide springboards for improvisation as he displays the swift, elegant and emotionally true picking that's made his name synonymous with his instrument. Fleck continues to perfect his synthesis of bluegrass, jazz and fusion, as can be heard on the lovely “Falling Forward,” included here.
Featured photo by Alan Messer.