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Thread: Saw Bela Fleck Saturday night

  1. #1
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    Saw Bela Fleck Saturday night

    Saw Bela Fleck and Brooklyn Ryder at Chenery Auditorium in Kalamazoo MI Saturday night. This is my 2nd time seeing Fleck and was very different from the time before when I saw him with the Flecktones. Brooklyn Ryder is a string quartet, so this was geared much more in a classical music direction. Fleck is an amazing banjo player and all of the string guys were outstanding as well. Fleck stuck to using one acoustic banjo for the entire set (an old Gibson made in Kalamazoo back in the day). To be honest I was not familiar with any of the material that they played, but I believe most of it came from an album they had done together last year, along with a few new pieces. For a prog fan some of these compositions were in the 15 minute range so it worked for me. Fleck did 2 sets of about an hour each. For an encore he did pull out a bluegrass number which went over big with the crowd. I took my 83 year old father and he really dug it.

  2. #2
    Member Digital_Man's Avatar
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    I saw him in 2008 I think it was opening for Return to Forever. Very talented. Victor Wooten was with him at the show I attended. I enjoyed it to a degree but thought I would have liked it more if I was more familiar with him.

  3. #3
    Thought I would add my review of a Saturday night show in Opelika, Alabama (on Feb/7/2015) that featured Bela and a large chamber orchestra called the Knights. I know that Bela has wide-ranging tastes and I've always enjoyed his music.

    Good live music (of the kind we like) is sparse around here so I took this rare opportunity to enjoy some killer prog with my fellow Alabamians being none the wiser. To many of them it was just an Arts Council thing. And since it's "art" a certain amount of weirdness is acceptable. The repertoire was firmly classical and even adventurous to some extent...so it was funny to hear the audience clap between movements...a definite no-no with classical audiences and snobs like me. The orchestra took it all in stride.

    It's actually refreshing to have an audience that (including the many Bela fans there) spontaneously showed appreciation without regard for convention anyway. The show appeared to be a sell out of a few thousand, maybe.

    The orchestra started with Rossini's overture to Barber of Seville, then Bela came out and they did a nice arrangement of one of his pieces called Big Country. The highlights of the evening were a very good rendition of John Adam's Chamber Concerto (why couldn't they have figured out how to integrate Bela's banjo into this!) and then Bela's Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra...which I thought was a terrific piece.

    Thanks Bela for bringing some prog (er, I mean "art") to Opelika, Al.!!

  4. #4
    Member No Pride's Avatar
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    Bela is a super talented musician and composer and I'm always a little surprised that he doesn't get mentioned much around here. But then after all is said and done, it IS banjo, not the most attractive sounding instrument in the world. I'll admit, even I get burned out on that sound after a while. But I gotta say, he opened a whole new universe for that instrument; nobody before him thought to approach it in such a radical way and utilize it within multiple musical genres like he does. And a good deal of his writing is actually pretty "proggy," or at least it sounds like it to me. I've seen The Flecktones a couple of times and they were great, but I would've like to have seen that concert.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Pride View Post
    Bela is a super talented musician and composer and I'm always a little surprised that he doesn't get mentioned much around here. But then after all is said and done, it IS banjo, not the most attractive sounding instrument in the world. I'll admit, even I get burned out on that sound after a while. But I gotta say, he opened a whole new universe for that instrument; nobody before him thought to approach it in such a radical way and utilize it within multiple musical genres like he does. And a good deal of his writing is actually pretty "proggy," or at least it sounds like it to me. I've seen The Flecktones a couple of times and they were great, but I would've like to have seen that concert.
    I have to admit that I have a hard time listening to his albums. I have several, but rarely pull them out. I do enjoy him live though. I probably like his work with the Flecktones the best, but he is amazingly versatile.

  6. #6
    chalkpie
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    My favorite Fleck albums: "Drive" and "The Bluegrass Sessions, Acoustic Planet Vol. 2"


  7. #7
    I don't think it's an overstatement to call Bela a genius. He's just that brilliant! I've been listening to him for about 32 years now. He's done everything, played with everybody, writes brilliant compositions, and knows how to present challenging music to an audience and make it entertaining. How many other progressive musicians starting up a band in the 90s have had his kind of success? Almost nobody.

  8. #8
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Zakir Hussein





    Great Bela solo starting from ca. 13.00

  9. #9
    I've only just heard of this guy after discovering Jonathan Scales Fourchestra. Here they are together :


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