Bela Fleck and the Flecktones companion CD and DVD recorded at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts
Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts turned recording studio to capture the banjo delights of Grammy-award winning Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. Now available nationwide, the first ever DVD and a companion CD by the eclectic artists were recorded at the Quick Center during a November 2000 concert.
Featured prominently at www.flecktones.com, "Live at the Quick" showcases Fleck's blend of bluegrass, jazz, pop, classical, funk and R&B. The film aired as a DirecTV special early this year. The DVD, which includes a documentary and band interviews, just hit the market this spring.
Fleck had already performed at the Quick Center a few times when he decided to make a film, said Deborah Sommers, the Quick Center's director of programming. Fleck chose the center for the recording because of its exceptional acoustics, Sommers said.
"We chose the Quick Center for our DVD because we have always loved playing there. We feel very relaxed there, and have tended to play well when we come to that room," Bela Fleck said. "We've always had a good audience show up as well.
"Very early on the Quick Center booked us, when a lot of venues of that class were still not sure, so there is some good feeling, and memories there as well," Fleck added.
The taping of Fleck and his Flecktones: Victor Lemonte Wooten, Future Man and Jeff Coffin, also includes several special guest performers. Joining the group were Sandip Burman playing the tabla; Andy Narell with steel pans and a keyboard; Paul Hanson on bassoon; Paul McCandless on oboe, English horn, soprano sax and sopranino; and Ondar, who performed Tuvan throat singing.
The guest performers had all played individually with the band prior to doing some shows as a group with the Flecktones in the summer of 2000.
"It was a really exciting tour," Fleck says at www.flecktones.com. "So exciting in fact, that when the opportunity came up several months later to make this live album, DVD and home video of the band, the Flecktones unanimously agreed that we should do it with the 'Big Band.' It seemed like the best way to offer something new and unusual to our listeners."
Fleck and his Flecktones rose to fame following a 1989 self-financed, self-titled album. "Flight of the Cosmic Hippo," launched in 1991 and rose to the top of jazz charts. In 1992, "UFO-TOFU" came out. Each of the three albums received Grammy nominations, but the band took home its first Grammy in 1996 for "Live Art," a live album with several guest performers. The group went on to make a deal with Sony Music for five recordings. The band released its sixth CD, "Left of Cool," in 1998.
Fleck's music appeals to a wide-ranging audience from high school students who warmed to the band when it toured with Dave Matthews, to senior citizens, according to Sommers, who said musical experts appreciate his talent and innovative musical style.
"He's the musician's musician."
Posted on July 10, 2002
Vol. 35, No. 10