Bela Fleck & the Flecktones

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by CalvinC, Jan 24, 2002.

  1. CalvinC

    CalvinC Stunt Coordinator

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    I recently saw this group on Directv, and I was fascinated! I had heard of them but had never had the chance to listen to their music. I was wondering if there was any fans out there and what your thoughts were? The music is so different.

    I am learning to listen to different types of music, particularly jazz and blues, from the old to the new. I'm going to have to go out and buy some of the Flecktones CD's! Any suggestions as to which one to buy?

    I also understand that a DVD of their concert should be out in February, but haven't seen any place yet to preorder it.

    Thanks for any input!
     
  2. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Yeah, good band. I saw them perform at my college. Good stuff.

    I have their compilation / best-of, Hits of the 20th Century and their double live CD, Live Art. If you're interested in specific albums, check out UFO-TOFU and Flight of the Cosmic Hippo for a start.
     
  3. Bob Turnbull

    Bob Turnbull Supporting Actor

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    I find their studio albums to be a little flat honestly. Great songs and musicianship, but they really pale to their live performances. Victor Wooten (bassist) is absolutely monstruous!

    I think the Live Art album might be a very good place to start.

    That's the first I've heard of a potential DVD release. Man, that would be fabulous...
     
  4. Jim Garbern

    Jim Garbern Stunt Coordinator

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    The Flecktones are incredible musicians and composers as well. Their live performances are amazing and they've amassed a Deadhead like following. Victor Wooten must be the best electric bass player on the planet, and is amazingly athletic as well, being able to suspend himself horizontally with a handhold from a traffic sign to playing ping pong with himself.
    As for which CDs to get, get them all, but if you're on a budget, as mentioned, Live Art is probably the best place to start. If you're hooked after listening to it, the rest will follow. Their UFOTOFU piece is amazing. It really does play backwards (almost) the same as it does forwards. If you like little sonic tricks to show off your audio system, check out Left of Cool, where on at least one song you can hear Bela and Vic moving across the stage back and forth. There's lots of tape traders around, as the band doesn't mind live taping of their shows. As mentioned, they have a DVD coming out next month that is from their Outbound tour. Amazon has it on their website (search for Live at the Quick)
    The Flecktones website is a good place to find out more about them and when they'll be in your neighborhood:
    http://www.flecktones.com
    Bela is an incredibly eclectic fellow and also plays a lot of Bluegrass and Newgrass with other great musicians, such as Edgar Meyer, Jerry Douglas and Stuart Duncan, and you might be pleasantly surprised by their Bluegrass sessions CD from a year or two ago, which is also available as a DVD-Audio disc - get this if you have DVD-A capability - the sound is much better. Bela's even toured with a Tuvan throat singer, and did a show with a tabla player (who's also been featured on the most recent Flecktones CD, Outbound. Bela's most recent recording is Perpetual Motion, which is a banjo tour de force of his arrangements of classical pieces, most notably several of Bach's violin solos and those of Paganini. Even if you don't like the music, you have to be stunned by his virtuosity. I'd also highly recommend the CDs Strength in Numbers and Uncommon Ritual. You can also find Bela playing backup to a lot of other well known artists, such as Dave Matthews and Shawn Colvin, to name just a few.
     
  5. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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    He also plays some gorgeous work on "Is the Brightness Still in Me" from Charlie Peacock's Kingdom Come.
     
  6. Andrej Dolenc

    Andrej Dolenc Stunt Coordinator

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    And just like the Dead and many bands that followed / are still following, they allow audience taping of their concerts as long as it's freely distributed. There's bootlegs of bela floating out on the net.

    Andrej
     
  7. Howard Williams

    Howard Williams Supporting Actor

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    I saw this on DirecTV too. I watched mainly to see Victor Wooten. I will do anything just to watch him play Bass.

    Not to rock the boat but, yes they are all very talented but the Flecktones style doesn't really appeal to me.
     
  8. Jon_B

    Jon_B Screenwriter

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    I really like Bela Fleck & the Fleckstones. I first heard of them back in 91'. One of my favorite songs is "Flight Of The Cosmic Hippo". Live Art is an excellent cd, definitely check it out. Some of my personal favorites on that cd are "Interlude-Libation, The Water Ritual", and the one featuring Bruce Hornsby.

    Jon
     
  9. Jim Garbern

    Jim Garbern Stunt Coordinator

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    By the way, if you like Vic Wooten, his Bass Day '98 is now out on DVD. I just ordered it so I can't say how it looks, but even the VHS :p) is amazing. His brother Reggie is incredible on the guitar.

    Jim
     
  10. Jim Garbern

    Jim Garbern Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the new 'Live at the Quick' DVD, which is a recording of a fantastic concert. My copy doesn't have any center channel sound, and the center staging does sound anemic to me. Has anyone else noticed this problem? The disc is labeled 5.1 sound.

    Victor Wooten's DVD is great BTW. It includes an extra hour of a private lesson on his bass guitar style and that is not on the VHS tape.
     
  11. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    I've seen them open for and play with Dave Matthews Band. I was very impressed with their performance.
     
  12. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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  13. Tim Campbell

    Tim Campbell Agent

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    Not to stir things up but DMB could not hold a candle to the bands that open up for them. Their only saving grace is Carter Beufard(sp)
     
  14. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Hey, I happen to like Bela Fleck's acoustical work, though I admit I haven't heard alot of his other albums, I really like his Tales from the Acoustic Planet volumes 1 and 2, but particularly the first one. It's a nice sampler of some bluegrass tunes and his banjo work.
    Jay
     
  15. Andy Anderson

    Andy Anderson Second Unit

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    Jay-

    I use the first track from Acoustic Planet #1 to demo speakers a lot. Good stuff.

    A word on DMB openers--Dave and the boys personally pick the bands that open for them--they're not picked by RCA. (I believe Stefan Lessard played on the last Gov't Mule album.) They seem to pick bands that they really like to listen to, and think should be exposed to larger audiences. Bela and the 'tones have played onstage with DMB frequently. Live, they do an amazing integration of their song "Sojourn of Arjuna" from the "Left of Cool" album in the middle of DMB's "#41". You can hear this on DMB's "Warehouse 5" cd that came out to Warehouse members a couple of years ago. I've been following Dave for sometime--I went to Va Tech, and they frequently played small shows in the area prior to their RCA debut, "Under the Table and Dreaming". As for Tim's comment, to each his own--I personally am a big fan of DMB, but I do agree that Carter Beauford is the standout of the group. He's an amazing musician. (Carlos Santana picked him to play drums on his last studio ablum, "Supernatural".)

    Back to the Flecktones, though--I've seen them a few times live--once in a double concert with Dave Grisman. That was an amazing show.

    NP: Los Lobos - "Colossal Head"
     
  16. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    [​IMG]
    I have never heard a critic have any negative words for the musicial ability of the members of Dave Matthews Band. Carter is amazing on drums. Leroi can blow the hell out a sax, flute, penny whistle, you get the idea... Stefan (the youngest band member) is great on the bass. Boyd's violin is always superb. Dave was recently named acoustic guitar player of the year at the Orville H. Gibson Guitar Awards.
     
  17. Neil Weinstock

    Neil Weinstock Stunt Coordinator

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    Back on topic, I'm interested in more reviews of the "Live at the Quick" DVD. Disappointed to hear about potentially weak mix. I'm a huge Flecktones fan (and have seen them a few amazing times live) and am considering this as my first music DVD.

    For CD's, "Live Art" is indeed a good starter. For studio albums, I place "UFO TOFU" (best album with amazing keyboardist/harmonica player Howard Levy) and "3 Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (no Howard, but all greatness anyway) as my top two choices.

    Aside: when I was in the store buying the CD of "Live at the Quick", I noticed one music DVD (don't remember what it was) that also had the CD included. That's a nice feature. I feel stupid paying for the CD and the DVD of the same album, though in this case I'm willing if the DVD is good.
     
  18. Bob Turnbull

    Bob Turnbull Supporting Actor

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    Just got "Live At The Quick" last week and absolutely love it. I didn't notice the weak mix, but I must admit I played the first half of it in PCM Stereo before realizing I hadn't selected the 5.1. :b

    The DVD contains what I believe to be the first pop song ever recorded with bassoon, oboe, modified electric banjo, sampled percussion (the wondrous drumitar), steel pan drums, Tuvan throat singing and a freaking amazing tabla-bass duel. That's all in one song.

    There's some decent extra features (interviews with band members, a documentary - which is actually partially used throughout the main feature - and a bonus song), fabulous songs and stunning musicianship by all.

    Highly recommended.
     
  19. Jim Garbern

    Jim Garbern Stunt Coordinator

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    On further listening, the center channel is okay on the documentary portions, but on the concert parts there is a noticeable lack of center channel on some of the cuts, and total absence of the CC on most of them (to the point I thought my brand new center channel speaker was defective). So, Bob or anyone else who's reading, can you check and see if you've noticed the same thing? I'd like to know if this is just my disc or if others have it too.

    I know some concert DVDs are intentionally engineered without center channel, and the variable presence of the CC makes me wonder if this was the case. I don't mean to dissuade people from getting this remarkable concert disc, which in spite of my concerns still sounds really good, but I think it would have been even better with the full 5.1 treatment. So far I haven't gotten any response from the Sony help desk or from the Flecktones web site.

    By the way, the Bluegrass sessions DVD-A disc, is spectacular if you have a proper setup, but even the downmixed 2 channel sound is noticeably better than the CD. The channels are set up so that you're on the concert stage with the musicians. This is newgrass stuff, which is quite a departure from the Flecktones stuff, but a testament to Bela's incredible musicality.

    Jim
     
  20. Neil Weinstock

    Neil Weinstock Stunt Coordinator

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    Hmm, the documentary portion is mixed in with the concert? Sounds like the PBS special that I caught a bit of a while back. How much actual performance is there, and how much talk?

    Mind you, I'm quite interested in the documentary feature, but don't know if I want it interrupting the concert...
     

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