Bela Fleck returns to Telluride Bluegrass with original Flecktones

Bela Fleck returns to Telluride Bluegrass with original Flecktones

[click “Play”, Bela Fleck talks with Susan]


Belafleck&theflecktones_rocketscience_jk Bela Fleck & the original Flecktones return to Telluride for the 38th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival, June 16  – June 19, 2011. Yes, you read that correctly, the original, the Fab Four, together again for the first time in just over 20 years on the Fred Shellman Main Stage: pianist/harmonica player Howard Levy, “the man with two brains,” reunited with Bela, uber bassist Victor Wooten, and innovative percussionist/ drummer Roy “Futureman” Wooten.

Some reunions – think “The Big Chill” – produce joy; others, regret. This one produced “Rocket Science”, a CD which includes some of the most forward thinking music of the group’s long and storied career. Rocket Science is vintage Flecktones, a meeting of musical minds fluent in classical, jazz, African, electric blues and Eastern European folk dances. Trying to describe this indescribable hodgepodge is like trying to hold on to quicksilver. Impossible. I go with what one critic said:

“Simply put, it is The Flecktones, the music made only when these four individuals come together.”

Rocket Science, which should be the centerpiece of Bela’s set, is vibrant and visionary, the alpha and omega of all that made Team Flecktones so fresh and so new way back when. The release (and reunion) are less a walk down memory lane than a jog. And at the finish line we predict another Grammy. Which makes me think Bela Fleck must spend a lot of time dusting off his shelves. Last count, the iconic musician won 11 Grammys and racked up 27 nominations in a mind-boggling number of categories: jazz, bluegrass, pop, country, spoken word, Christian, composition, and world music. 

Bela Fleck is named after the Hungarian composer Bela Bartok, also a passionate ethnomusicologist known for mixing sounds – in Bartok’s case, Hungarian and other folk sounds with the music of his contemporaries – to create distinctive music. Earl Scruggs’ banjo may have given Bill Monroe’s music its distinctive edge, but it was Bela who reinvented the image and sound of the instrument. Bela’s remarkable career has taken the virtuoso all over the musical map, from the progressive bluegrass band Newgrass Revival and now back to the unique sound of his Flecktones. And in nearly all his incarnations, even before the Flecktones, for 30 years now Bela has returned to Telluride to perform at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to Bela’s interview.

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