At Last We Meet Again by BÃ©la Fleck & The Flecktones on Amazon Music - catchsomeair.us
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Béla Fleck and the Flecktones
One morning, he sort of hit his hand on the table and liked the sound of it and the way it felt. So he did it again. Then I started hitting the table with him and he started hitting with me.
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It came out as this sort of bluesy kind of thing. It would have just come and gone. And so you start thinking of the different chords that would go along with it. Once we started getting into it, the next tour we started doing it with almost no arrangements. By the end of the tour we started refining it and coming up with a real arrangement, and when we got home we recorded it.
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I think we both feel that old-timey tradition is an oral tradition and one that gets passed down. But if you can find a way to be yourself in an old song, great!At Last We Meet Again - Victor Wooten, Bela Fleck
Even without the singing. Without the original songs that Abby brings. We knew immediately, only two banjos all the time. Usually the only person who gets to experience it is the player.
Béla Fleck and the Flecktones - Wikipedia
So our goal was to keep that magic field of the two banjos, which we get when we sit real close together and play and the sound blends, and let everybody hear how complex and interesting and big that sound is. Not to try to blast you with it or be loud, to make it sound like you were as close to the instrument as we are. The clawhammer could be a lot louder than bluegrass playing because you have your whole hand banging on it.
Bluegrass is not that loud, and it was really built around a microphone. Do you think with this album, and knowing that you were going to do a duo album at some point anyway anyway, but did having your son have influence on these songs?
And will he in the future? And eventually you could put together a variety show. That would be a blast.
Catching Up With Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn
He can play any style of banjo he wants. So you both still do stay busy on your own, separately. Because I love playing with him. An event for students that are going to be student ambassadors overseas. And because of my China experience, sometimes I get called in to speak and play and perform for people on the verge or who are involved in that cross-cultural world.
Like my connection with the jazz world or the classical world. I wonder if you think of yourself as activists. What you were doing in Africa was more about the origins of the banjo.
It seems like there was more of a humanitarian aspect to it. I think Abby thinks that way more than I do. Teaching feels really good that way. Growing awareness between different people feels really good.
Every time either of us have had a chance to interact with musicians with other countries, sometimes in front of dignitaries or ambassadors, you feel like communication is improved. When they see the way that musicians do it and what you can achieve with music, music can be very uplifting.
But you keep the politics separate. You can make it more the humanitarian thing. The stakes are different too. You get together to play with musicians. I think our next record should be titled This Shit Is 3D. Oh, I hope so so bad.
Just to continue that thought, loving the banjo and going through being a banjo player for years and years, it either puts a chip on your shoulder or makes you feel like an underdog. Even if it becomes the popular instrument of the year.
People should make their own great music on whatever instrument they want, and if they love the banjo, they should make should make their music with the banjo. The writing hasn't been this strong since, well, the last time Levy was in the band, and because Fleck remains the group's primary composer though everyone contributesit becomes clear that it's always been as much about who he is writing for as what he is writing.
The tunes are still filled with knotty twists and turns, but there's also a sense of space that's back, right from the first tune, Fleck's breezy "Gravity Lane," which contains no shortage of metric shifts and a baton-like passing of the melody between Fleck, Levy and Wooten, but still seems to breathe in ways the Levy-less Flecktones failed to.
And as Levy's harmonica breathtakingly moves in out and around the song's changes, and as Fleck takes a mind-blowing solo that's as impressive as anything he's ever done, it also becomes clear just how definitive the combination of harmonica, banjo, and sometimes bass in the front line really was to The Flecktones' sound, and how anything else has always felt, somehow, less, no matter how good it was.
Having another chordal instrument in the band also liberates Fleck from having to fill too many shoes. The Flecktones has always been considered a jazz band as much as a jam band, but when Levy left, the harmonic center of the group shifted. On Levy's gentle "Joyful Spring," the ambience of his piano ties it more closely to a tradition that's always been an underlay to the group, but which has become increasingly distant in recent years, while Fleck's "Falling Forward" positively swings.
And while there's no shortage of soloing throughout the hour-long set, the easygoing camaraderie and competitiveness that made The Flecktones' early performances so uplifting and filled with positive energy is back.
Futureman, who no longer plays the Drumitar exclusively, gets to take a more extended solo during his own "The Secret Drawer," also incorporating his strange hybrid of drum kit and other percussion so big that it would probably take up the entire back of the van they used to use to transport both the band and its gear in its early days. Some say you can't go back again, but with Rocket Science, clearly you can.
Even the cover art harkens back to the cartoon covers of The Flecktones' early days. With The Flecktones hitting the road during the summer, there's a chance for those who missed the group in its formative years to really hear what all the fuss was about.