Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
3 Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Genres: Country, Folk, Jazz, Pop, Rock
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The essence of fusion
spiral_mind | Pennsylvania | 05/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The word 'fusion' is used to mean various things.. most often jazz-rock, occasionally world-beat or Indian/jazz or any number of other things. Only rarely does a band require something more inclusive like 'every-damn-thing-at-once-fusion'.. and if there's any group that truly embodies that philosophy, it's Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Cuckoo's Nest was the first Flecktone album made after the departure of keys/harmonica man Howard Levy, which left the others lots of space to fill - in addition to the usual banjo, bass and synth-drum, now they're also using a small arsenal of triggers, loops and samples to layer and echo things as they go along. According to Bela everything was arranged to be performed live, and if you haven't seen this incredible group onstage for yourself, you might have a hard time believing they can really do so many things in real time. But believe me, they can and they do. I have no idea how - my theory so far is possession by aliens that can bend our known laws of physics - but they do.
A quick spin through this disc, like any of their others, leaves one's head spinning with a mad whirl of flavors too thick and varied to pick apart (which would be missing the point anyway). "Vix 9" is spacey jazz, subtly addicting despite its mad complexity. "Bumbershoot" is a blazing jazzy rock groove that doesn't get jarring despite some insane time changes. "Blues for Gordon" is basically what it says, but that Fleckian banjo gives it a flavor you'd never ordinarily expect from the blues. And so it goes.. from ambient drift to piano-augmented rap to Celtic medley to third-world percussive interlude, every track here has its own quirky identity. And somehow in these talented hands it sounds nothing but natural. The spoken lyric of "The Message" (an oddity in their mostly-instrumental cataogue) may be a little cliched, but it only helps convey just how down-to-earth they are.. despite having a level of technical skill that leaves other mortal musicians humbled and drooling.
As usual I can't quite recommend this disc as the ultimate Flecktone album (that's Little Worlds) or the most definitive collection (that's Live Art). But they're *all* well worth looking into, and any one of them makes a good first pick for the curious. You'll never hear a banjo the same way again, and your ideas about musical boundaries & genres might just get a little adjustment as well."
What doesn't kill a band often makes it stronger.
Belafan | Sunrise, Fl United States | 07/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD was recorded right after Howard Levy (piano, harmonica) left the band to stay home more with his family. The band plays over 200 live dates each year! Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten, and Future Man (Roy Wooten) decided they were having too much fun to quit. So they became a trio (thus the title of the CD). This album will take you from uplifting jazz type numbers to smooth soothing music to foot-stomping jams. Check it out!"
Desert Island CD
bcbrandt | The Ranch On Mars | 06/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If I was on a desert island... This CD would be one I MUST bring with me. This is a wonderfully lively, soothing, and outright enjoyable CD. I was already hooked on Bela when I bought this for my Dad--now *he's* hooked. ;)This is simply a must-have for anyone who likes the Bela Fleck style of jazz, and for fans of DMB-type rock who're looking to expand their horizons, it makes a great stepping stone."