Gary Popovich | Chesterfield, VA USA | 07/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bill Keith's breakthrough melodic picking style opened the door to more accurate banjo interpretation of traditional fiddle tunes, a fact not lost on two of his younger disciples, Tony Trishka and Bela Fleck. The collection of songs included on "Fiddle Tunes for Banjo" is a fascinating study of these three picking masters circa 1981 as each of them applies his stamp to a terrific collection of tunes.The opening cut, "Bill Cheatham," (the only actual collaboration among the boys on this CD) offers the first glimpse of stylistic contrast - after a triple harmony reading of the song, Keith, Fleck, and Trishka individually romp through a verse each before joining force again for a really cool tag-line exit. From there, it's one delight after another - Bela's high-wire act (and astonishing guitar-picking) on "Fiddler's Dream", Keith's wonderful pentatonic-scale work on "Clinging Vine," and Tony's modal invention on "Vanished" are but a few of the many highlights to this marvelous effort. I rank this effort with Scrugg's "Foggy Mountain Banjo" as a "must have" for the serious banjo picker, particularly one who is a fan of applying fiddle tunes to the 5-string."
Lots of fun
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very good album of fiddle tunes that was recorded by three banjo greats--bela fleck, bill keith, and tony trischka. If you like fiddle tunes you should buy this."
The bluegrass summitt
perryink2 | castle rock | 09/01/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, so a gathering of three generations of banjo wizards may not excite the way a summit of say, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Charles Mingus might have. But the intent - to shake up the tradition of their form - is no less relevant. Celebrated in circles as diverse as bluegrass and progressive jazz, Fleck, Keith and Trischka take bawdy delight twisting these 16 traditional fiddle arrangements to suit the pick and pluck of their Appalachian, Irish and urban/mountain styles. Accompanied variously by fiddle, mandolin and bass, the three veteran players alternate between collaboration (Bill Cheatham, Salt Creek, John Hardy) and soloing with a rotating door of backing musicians (Dust On the Needle, Paddy Kelly's Jig, Silverbell, Mead Mountain Blues, Salty). It's a perfect combination, either as an alternative for fans of bluegrass or a great starting point for anybody interested in having at least one of these albums in the collection. This should be it."