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Bela Fleck and the Flecktones: Live at the Quick

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Bela Fleck and his band the Flecktones-bassist Victor Wooten, percussionist Future Man and saxophonist Jeff Coffin-are astoundingly adept musicians who are comfortable playing virtually any type of music, and their intricate sound mixes jazz, bluegrass, pop, rock, classical, funk, world elements and who knows what else into an eclectic yet highly accessible musical collage. The band tours constantly and has earned a very devoted following. No wonder-a Bela Fleck and the Flecktones concert is always a lot of fun; infectious good humor prevails both onstage and in the audience, and there’s never a shortage of extremely high-level musicianship. These qualities are amply in evidence on Live at the Quick, an album and DVD recorded live during a two-night engagement at the Connecticut club.

Most of the material on the CD is culled from the Flecktones’ 2000 album Outbound, and several of the musicians who appeared on Outbound join the group onstage, including multi-instrumentalist Paul McCandless, steel-pan drummer Andy Narell, bassoonist Paul Hansen, tabla player Sandip Burman and throat singer Congar ol’Ondar. The album opens with a loopily heraldic saxophone flourish, then launches into the rousing “Earth Jam.” The tracks range from the straight-from-the-heartland “Big Country” to Wooten’s funky take on “Amazing Grace” to Fleck’s solo improvisation-which incorporates a Bach prelude-to a rollicking remake of Aaron Copland’s “Hoedown.”

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