Let Me Be the One - Béla Fleck, Nichols, Roger [Son
Trane to Conamarra
Almost 12 - Béla Fleck, Fleck, Bela
Sleeping Dogs Lie
Trouble and Strife
The Big Blink
Prelude to Silence
What's left for Bela Fleck? Bluegrass, rock, jazz, classical, rock, folk--he's explored them all. After an epic, Grammy-winning live album, Fleck returns to the studio for a surprisingly subtle, intricate suite of instrum... more »entals--and a number of vocal tracks--combining his usual daring on banjo with mandolin, synths, and theremin. The record is a dreamy soundtrack of reggae, pop, world beat, and techno, merging into an ambient-vibe-spin-club-funk-jazz (such a cumbersome label for his agile music). The most satisfying moments come with the most lovely melodies--as on the lilting "Big Country"--when Fleck's traditional soul rises with a clear voice through the virtuosity and studio wizardry.--Roy Francis Kasten« less
What's left for Bela Fleck? Bluegrass, rock, jazz, classical, rock, folk--he's explored them all. After an epic, Grammy-winning live album, Fleck returns to the studio for a surprisingly subtle, intricate suite of instrumentals--and a number of vocal tracks--combining his usual daring on banjo with mandolin, synths, and theremin. The record is a dreamy soundtrack of reggae, pop, world beat, and techno, merging into an ambient-vibe-spin-club-funk-jazz (such a cumbersome label for his agile music). The most satisfying moments come with the most lovely melodies--as on the lilting "Big Country"--when Fleck's traditional soul rises with a clear voice through the virtuosity and studio wizardry.--Roy Francis Kasten
Andy C. from WINCHENDON, MA Reviewed on 11/4/2006...
There are some good tunes on this CD, but be warned that Futureman sings on a few of the not so good ones... not what I was expecting from a Flecktones album!
Too Cool For Words
Steve Vrana | Aurora, NE | 01/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"His first release since the in-concert Live Art 2-CD set, Left of Cool continues Bela Fleck's genre-bending journey into finding innovative applications for the banjo. For the uninitiated, the banjo (at worst) is associated with the in-bred geek playing "Dueling Banjos" in Deliverance or (at best) it's still little more than an instrument for bluegrass music. This album (or any of the Flecktones other albums) will go a long way toward dispelling that myth.I've always enjoyed Fleck's exceptional skill as a banjoist, whether it was in more traditional settings like Tasty Licks and New Grass Revival or his early solo work on the Rounder label. With the Flecktones he incorporates bluegrass, jazz and Third World rhythms to create a unique hybrid of these diverse styles. [There's even a couple of vocals by Dave Matthews--yes, THAT Dave Matthews.]Put this in your CD player and get ready to be transported to a musical universe where Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe rule jointly with Miles Davis and John Coltrane. This has to be heard to be believed--amazing stuff! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"
An eclectic collection of great music that defies labels.
John Heyrman | Berea, KY USA | 09/30/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone musically open-minded enough to listen to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones in the first place will be highly rewarded by listening to this album. Even more exciting and wide-ranging than most of their other albums, "Left of Cool" is a picture of a group of creative musicians who worry not a bit what you wish to label their music (jazz, bluegrass, rock, or whatever...) The album's highlights range widely from the catchy "Communication," with guest vocals from Dave Matthews, to the beautiful and meditative "Shanti." The Flecktones venture further into vocals than usual, but most of the album is still instrumentals, featuring Fleck's great banjo playing, as well as the outstanding rythym section. This group can jam in almost any format. Very highly recommended."
You're All Repugnant!
My Name is Mud! | New York | 05/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Being a professional drummer, I am already offended by Futureman's choice of "instrument," but all of you that gave miserable reviews to this album dissapoint me. There is nothing wrong with this album. Futch's vocals are no godsend, but I see no problem with the Flecktones being a little bit slack once in a while. When I pick up Live Art, I'm certainly not picking it up for some fast bop, I'm picking it up for complex and mellow melodies, like that of "Shubee's Doobie." Don't discard "Left of Cool," because some musical critic schmuck says its terrible, give it a chance, it's pretty damn good. All of you music "afficionados," who analyze music instead of listen to it can cram it! YOU'RE ALL REPUGNANT! "
Not up to the Flecktones high standards
Andrew Wagner | 06/13/1998
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Bela Fleck is my musical god. I thought that he could do no wrong, until now. Left of Cool is easily the worst Flecktones album. Bela has always been a master at giving the listener inventive melodies, regardless of any arbitrary label put upon his music. Yet on this outting the flecktones have begun to missjugde perhaps, thier own musical skills. I am not refering to the mind blowing bass stylings of Victor Wooten, who never fails to impress, or any of the instramental stylings for that matter, but rather the vocals that had remained absent (and now we know why) from most of the flecktones previous offerings. Future man is a fine singer, and the guest vocals offered by Dave Matthews and Amy Grant are refreshing, but the melodies make me want to cry. Why would the Flecktones work so hard on a song, and completetly neglect the vocal melodies. They are, for the most part, simply not good. "Communication" is really a good song, yet the vocal melody is non-existant. Unfortunately these few vocal outtings are overshodowing much that is good on the album for me right now. You want a good flecktones album? Start with anything but "Left of Cool. "Live Art" will knock your sox off. Though I have to say, that "Left of Cool" is still exponentially more musical than anything Natalie Imbrulia will ever put out."
Things you have not heard before.
Andrew Wagner | Champaign, IL USA | 10/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are new to the flecktones, your first impression will probably be that it sounds a little like muzak due to the orchestration that usually involves a lot of saxophone and a lot of synthesized sounds. Soon, however, you will discover that this is some of the most varied and conceptually dense music you will ever listen to. Definately worth a buy."