Béla Fleck/Zakir Hussain/Edgar Meyer
The Melody of Rhythm
With The Melody of Rhythm: Béla Fleck has taken another detour from his namesake newgrass band. The Flecktone-less Fleck leads an unusual instrumental triad, joined by double-bass specialist and old friend Edgar Meyer, as well as true world-class percussionist Zakir Hussain. The musical mood here is classical whimsy, with the obvious classical ingredient being the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which as a group somehow acts as an appropriate “backup” musician. In “Babar” and “Bubbles” the orchestra opens, followed by prominent roles from each in the trio: Hussain setting the rhythm with inventive, Middle Eastern-flavored bongo passages, Meyer maintaining the pace with caffeinated bass work, and Fleck coming over the top with trademark banjo pickin’ that travels between classical jazz and passages as American as “Oh, Susanna.” In the three-movement, 28-minute “The Melody of Rhythm,” the trio further shares musical space with the orchestra, with all parts forming a cohesive, and enjoyable, amalgamation of one single voice. Both the Flecktones (Dec. 14) and the Fleck/Hussain/Meyer trio (April 13, 2011) will be part of Chico Performances’ 2010-2011 schedule (www.chicoperformances.com).