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Author: Subject: A tale Of Two Concert Reviews-Fleck, Clarke, and Ponty (Julian Lage)

Zen Peach





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  posted on 10/13/2005 at 04:42 PM
Tuesday night in Boston, the Trio! featuring Bela Fleck, Stanley Clarke, and Jean Luc Ponty

Bill Beuttler of the Boston Globe,

quote:
MUSIC REVIEW
Trio! has individual talent but no teamwork
By Bill Beuttler, Globe Correspondent | October 13, 2005

Five jazz virtuosos took turns onstage at Symphony Hall Tuesday in one of the most highly anticipated concerts of the season, with the young duo of pianist Taylor Eigsti and guitarist Julian Lage opening for Trio!, the barnstorming all-star team of Stanley Clarke, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Bela Fleck. The results were often electrifying but ultimately mixed.

Eigsti and Lage, who are 21 and 16, respectively, fared better than their elders did, particularly when it came to playing as a unit. Their set included three originals and three standards, and they played them with a clarity (the title of one of those originals, written by Lage) and rapport reminiscent of Lage's sometime employer Gary Burton's collaborations with Chick Corea.

Their take on ''Caravan" was especially illuminating. Eigsti and Lage had fun splintering the familiar melody by Duke Ellington and Juan Tizol, then alternately took their best solos of the set, earning them something unusual for an opening act: an encore. These kids deserved gold stars -- both for their chops and for playing well with others.

That last quality was less evident with the headliners. Their banter between tunes showed that they like one another, but their work together had too much in common with an all-star game: lots of impressive individual moments, but lacking in the teamwork department. Clarke, Ponty, and Fleck have been touring together for four months, but they haven't coalesced as a trio. That meant their set too often amounted to three phenomenal musicians making mediocre music, their interplay surprisingly sluggish.

Not that there weren't plenty of good moments. Fleck's piece ''Storm Warning," written to be as difficult as he could make it, fared better than most as a group effort, its complexity perhaps focusing everyone's attention. Clarke's ''Song to John" (a Coltrane tribute) and Fleck's ''Plucky Davenport" were both solid. The group's encore, Ponty's ''Translove Express," had the bass and violin parts dancing together admirably as it transported Clarke and Ponty back to their 1970s heyday.

The real highlights came in the solos, especially when each took a turn onstage alone and broke out some flashy stunts. Fleck applied his nose to his banjo fret board while playing a snippet of ''Mona Lisa." Ponty set his bow on his music stand and played a piece holding and plucking his violin like a guitar. Clarke dropped jaws by coaxing what sounded like flamenco guitar from his upright bass, then segued, rapidly slapping his open hand up and down the strings. (That he'd done the same things earlier in the set didn't diminish the audience's enthusiasm for them; he was given a standing ovation.)

The group's name, however, is Trio! Tuesday night, the exclamation mark usually felt unearned.



Bob Young of the Boston Herald

quote:
Trio! triumphs
By Bob Young
Thursday, October 13, 2005

Musical supergroups are as often a marketer's invention as an inspired union, so a few skeptical eyebrows were raised when commercially successful crossover virtuosos Jean-Luc Ponty, Bela Fleck and Stanley Clarke announced they were touring together - under the exclamation-pointed moniker of Trio!, no less.

It turns out, based on the wide-ranging thrill of a show they put on Tuesday at Symphony Hall, that more than one exclamation point wouldn't have been overkill.

Ponty on violin, Fleck on banjo and Clarke on acoustic bass transported jazz string improvisation to a place only the most imaginative dare tread. They flashed from the earthy bluegrass feel of Fleck's ``South'' to a poignant ``Song to John,'' Clarke's tribute to Coltrane.

Pioneers on their respective instruments, each player produced the expected showy pyrotechnics. Yet more often than not it was the intensity and spark of the threesome's interplay that left the crowd roaring for more.

The night started with the youthful pairing of pianist Taylor Eigsti and guitarist Julian Lage, who laid down a set of duets as electrifying and virtuosic as it was mature.

Trio!, at Symphony Hall, Boston, Tuesday night.


 

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True Peach



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  posted on 10/13/2005 at 08:33 PM
there was no opener when I saw trio! this spring... but DAMN if it wasn't one of the best shows I've seen in a long time.... I have a show from michigan which came out great and I listened to it at least 2-3 every week... KILLER...

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/14/2005 at 10:09 AM
Cool

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/14/2005 at 11:21 PM
quote:
Fleck ready for relaxed Holiday
By EILEEN SCHULTE, Times Staff Writer
Published October 14, 2005

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CLEARWATER - It was late Thursday morning, and banjo picker Bela Fleck woke up in his tour bus with no idea if he was even in Florida yet.

Not that it mattered.

Fleck, 47, was just happy at the prospect of performing at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday at 9:30 tonight. He remembers how grateful he was to be invited to play years ago when he was "kind of wide-eyed."

"It's relaxed and the people are warm," Fleck said.

The free four-day event opened Thursday and continues through Sunday at Coachman Park in downtown Clearwater.

Tonight's show will be one of the last Fleck will perform as part of Trio!, with bassist Stanley Clarke and violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, whose 50-show tour ends next week at Chicago Symphony Hall.

"We've been playing together since June," Fleck said. "It's a cool experience on a personal level. They're the guys that I looked up to when I was coming up."

For the first time since the Flecktones started 15 years ago, the band took a break so its members could work on their own projects.

Fleck traveled to Africa for a month to research the origins of the banjo, play some shows and shoot a documentary film.

He visited Uganda and Tanzania among other places, and loved it so much he said he wished he could have spent a month in each country.

The trip inspired a new album, which will be released by Sony in 2007 along with the film.

The Flecktones will reunite in January. The band's new album, called The Hidden Lands, recorded before the hiatus, will be released the same month.

"It's been an insane year," Fleck said from the road, which makes the promise of tonight's concert by the water all the more inviting.


 

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