After coming together to finally make a baby, husband and wife, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, decided that perhaps it was time to team up for an album, so their little family could tour together for a while. Their new EP, 'Banjo Banjo,' was reportedly produced to keep the happy couple from having to tour separately with either the Flecktones or, in Washburns case, solo. While it's hardly the same as paid family leave, the 23-date tour behind the new EP will keep the Béla, Abigail and their baby boy Juno happily together through June.
In 2007, pianist Chick Corea and banjoist Bela Fleck teamed up for 'The Enchantment,' which they promptly supported by touring together. Personal chemistry being what it was between these two grand masters, they continued to tour intermittently ever since. When Corea approached Fleck to produce a live album, he readily agreed. This meant culling through eight years of tapes, which Fleck did on an Oregon beach. When he had his favorites, he went over them with Corea. The result is 'Two,' a double-disc of concert moments that show the pair incessantly tag teaming through a variety of their own classics plus well-chosen covers. It's a dizzying elongated listen with more notes than the brain can possibly fathom.
Béla Fleck's thrilling new documentary film, Béla Fleck: How to Write a Banjo Concerto, follows that instrument's trailblazer (and, lest we forget, 15-time GRAMMY winner) through one of his most challenging musical journeys--down deep into the heart of the symphony orchestra. And Classicalites will be equally thrilled to know the doc is now available on iTunes.
Cutting-edge New York orchestra The Knights have been signed by Warner Classics, and their first album, "the ground beneath our feet," is due to be released Jan 26. The Knights began with brothers Eric and Colin Jacobsen, staging impromptu chamber music readings with their friends at their home while they were music students. Since then, the orchestra has risen and been hailed as “the next generation of classical music.” They have been known to play with big names in the classical and indie music scene, such as Bryce Dessner, guitarist of the band The National. The new album will explore the concerto grosso form, a Baroque form in which musical material is passed between a small group of soloists and a full orchestra. Colin characterizes the relationship between these two musical groups as a “party within a party.” Their "ground beneath our feet" will pair examples by Bach, Haydn, Stravinsky and Reich with world-premiere recordings of two collaboratively composed concertos. True to their collegial creed, the title track is a genuine group composition, collaborative from inceptions to interpretation. The CD release is timed to coincide with The Knights’s extensive, upcoming, seven-state, East Coast tour, where they will be joined by 15-time Grammy-Award-winning banjo artist Bela Fleck.