Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, Mike Marshall|
Genres: Country, Folk, Classical
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Top Class "Classical-Bluegrass Fusion"!!!!
Volkert Volkersz | Snohomish, WA United States | 03/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One could call this "classical-bluegrass fusion," but that wouldn't be quite accurate, since both the string bass and mandolin have a large repertoire in classical music, however the banjo doesn't. While the bluegrass influence is felt on many of the original pieces by Edgar Meyer and Bela Fleck, with Meyer at the helm of this project the classical influence is predominant.One could also call some of these selections classical music voiced for bluegrass instruments, which would be particularly true of "Contrapunctus XIII, from "The Art of the Fugue," by J. S. Bach. Since I grew up on Bach--who is still my favorite composer--I loved this selection. The banjo and mandolin blend into this Baroque piece very nicely.As a guitarist, I really enjoy Fleck's piece, "Travis," on which he tastefully fingerpicks on a National Guitar. This is a nice departure from his usual superb banjo work!Another beautiful folksy melody--one that I find myself humming often--is "Big Country," also by Fleck. (He also does this tune with the Flecktones on "Left of Cool.") With Mike Marshall playing guitar on this cut, it reminds me of Marshall's exquisite album with Darol Anger called "Chiaroscuro."Edgar Meyer is a masterful composer and bassist. This album is a great vehicle to feature his melodic playing on the string bass--an instrument usually relegated to a supportive role--often in the low register of the instrument, but it's amazing how he can make the instrument soar into the ranges of both the cello and violin. Just as a violinist can be called a "fiddler" depending on the kind of music being played, Meyer could be called a "bass fiddler," and that would be a compliment to his versatility, especially on pieces that are influenced by bluegrass, Celtic music, jazz or blues.While Edgar Meyer and Bela Fleck often appear with the stunning mandolinist, Sam Bush, here Mike Marshall is a more fitting mandolinist, because of his previous ventures into classical music with the Modern Mandolin Quartet. (One recording by this quartet is their delightful rendition of "The Nutcracker Suite," which is one of my favorite Christmas albums. This album also contains a beautiful piece by Meyer.) However, it should be noted that Marshall can turn his mandolin into a driving rhythm instrument, as he does on "Chromium Picolinate."In my opinion, there's not a bad cut on this album. Much of it is reminiscent of one of my all-time favorite recordings, "The Telluride Sessions," by Strength in Numbers, which includes Meyer and Fleck, as well as the above mentioned Sam Bush. But this one moves in a more classical direction. Enjoy!"
Appreciation comes with time
William Adair | 08/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Uncommon Ritual" was my first purchase after discovering the absolutely wonderful "Skip, Hop, and Wobble" (Jerry Douglas, Russ Barenberg, and Edgar Meyer), and I have to admit that I didn't get it at first. I loved Meyer's "Sliding Down" and Fleck's "Travis" and "Big Country," which are truly timeless Americana. But the experimental stuff, like "Contramonkey," "Chance Meeting," and "The Big Cheese" left me scratching my head. Huh? Now, after listening to the CD at least once a week for a couple of years (I guess that says all you need to know about how good it is), I have to admit that even the more obscure tunes are brilliant. Consider this CD a crash course in music appreciation. Example: One morning I found myself focusing on the incredibly expressive violin in "Zigeunerweisen" (instead of working- the coffee hadn't kicked in yet) but couldn't find one in the liner notes. Surely that wasn't Meyer on the bass? I had no idea that a contrabass had so much range! I consider Edgar Meyer's collaborations to be the most consistently rewarding CDs in my collection, which spans the gamut from Bach to Marley. Check out the more classically influenced "Appalachian Spring" and "Appalachian Journey," the wild jazzgrass/spacegrass of "Telluride Sessions," the acoustic adventure "Skip, Hop, and Wobble," and the fusion masterpiece "Short Trip Home." Or, for a great start, the new compilation "Heartland: An Appalachian Anthology.""
solomonkostenko | Parma Hts., Ohio USA | 07/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After listening to Appalachian Waltz and Journey, I found it hard at first to get into this album, particularly some of the less-structured tracks. After some time though, it grew on me, and now I can see just how amazing this is.Edgar Meyer is probably the greatest bassist ever, and nowhere does he showcase it better than on this album. What makes his playing so wonderful, aside from jaw-dropping technique, is his pure naturalness. He plays bass the same way that Itzhak Perlman plays violin, or Emmanuel Ax plays piano. What is positively frightening is that not only does he join a handful of people in history who are bass immortals, but he achieves this in a full menagerie of styles, as well as having bountiful talent and sensitivity as a composer and even a pianist.If this was just a Meyer album, it would be wonderful, but on top of that, we have the amazing contributions of Bela Fleck and Mike Marshall, both of whom are virtuosos themselves in every sense of the term. As a result this is a CD with as much music shoehorned into it as any the Kronos Quartet ever released. I cannot praise this album enough.Highlights for me would be the title track, Chromium Picolinate, Zigeunerweisen, the down-home groove of Old Tyme, Contrapunctus XIII, and the positively staggering Third Movement from "Amalgamation for Solo Bass" (which taught me very quickly that even when I could play the most demanding sections of Beethoven's Ninth that I had only begun to learn how to bow)."