Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer
The Town Hall Presents
Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer
Bluegrass, Indian and Classical Music Legends Together in Concert
Thursday, November 15 at 8pm
Masters of the Banjo, Tabla and Double Bass in a Daring Program with Global Resonance
With Rakesh Chaurasia on flute
We live at a time in which once-unimaginable musical combinations are not only conceived but possible. Still, to make them work beyond mere curiosities demands musicians who are not just virtuosos of their instruments, but also have imagination and a daring attitude.
Béla Fleck, banjo; Zakir Hussain, tabla, and Edgar Meyer, double bass, have combined the bluegrass, classical, and South Asian musical traditions into a one-of-a-kind sound, familiar but with a global resonance. In fact, their extraordinary interaction often suggests a sui generis jazz trio, not only improvising on set melodies, harmonies, and rhythms but also on musical genres, taking them to unlikely, unexpected musical places.
Fleck, Hussain, and Meyer will be reconvening for a special show with guest Indian flutist Rakesh Chaurasia at The Town Hall in New York City on Thursday, November 15th at 8pm.
Béla Fleck, who cites as influences Earl Scruggs, Chick Corea, and Charlie Parker, has earned awards in a dizzying variety of genres, from jazz and world music to classical, bluegrass, and gospel. Edgar Meyer, a MacArthur fellow whom The New Yorker praised as "…the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively unchronicled history of his instrument," has moved with ease from classical repertoire to jazz and bluegrass, and back. Meanwhile, Zakir Hussain, from a young age a master in the Hindustani classical tradition, has grown to become a global figure. Prominent in world music projects, he has collaborated with artists as diverse as George Harrison, Yo-Yo Ma, Giovanni Hidalgo, Jan Garbarek, Van Morrison, John McLaughlin, and Mickey Hart. “I like to listen to folk music from all parts of the world.” Hussain once said. “It gives me better insight into the culture of the land.”
Among the three, they have collected twenty-two Grammy awards and even more nominations.
Fleck met Meyer in 1983 at a festival in Aspen, sat in “for a few songs” that night and “We have stayed in touch ever since, and we are deep friends." The banjoist and bassist teamed up for a double concerto for the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in 2004. Its success led to another commission, for which they called on the brilliant Hussain for percussion.
"Béla and I were both very big fans of Zakir, at least since high school," Meyer said in an interview. "For most of our lives, he's been one of the musicians we admired the most.”
The result was the astonishing The Melody of Rhythm; Triple Concerto & Music for Trio, recorded with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Slatkin and released on CD in 2009.
“The piece evolved from many rhythmic patterns and ragas that I opened up to them, to which they added melodic ideas,” explained Hussain in an interview in 2016. “Finally, Edgar added his magic by adding orchestral parts.” He adds proudly: “We were nominated for a Grammy that year.”
For Meyer "just Zakir's breadth and depth in the melody and rhythm department has changed the way I write. That's an ongoing change."
It was the beginning of a collaboration that continues to evolve to this day.
“Time makes something traditional,” Fleck said in recent interview with NewMusicUSA.org. “I’m trying to come up with something that has some reason to exist, not just do new stuff to do new stuff.” That kind of curiosity, informed by artistic integrity, feels like a connecting thread between Fleck, Hussain, and Meyer, and if you have any doubt, you just have to listen.
“They conquered mere technical prowess long ago,” wrote NPR’s Felix Contreras as he presented their Tiny Desk Concert back in 2010. “All three now are at a place where music truly becomes so intuitive that a simple rehearsal … is an exercise in wordless communication.”
In fact, Meyer once suggested that they could “walk in and just go. We know each other. We have a repertoire. Yet, [Fleck and Hussain] are two people who challenge me fundamentally, both in knowledge and native ability. I don't take anything for granted with it. I've always got a long list of things that I can and should be working on in this trio."
Fleck, who likewise seems to be perennially looking for the next challenge, explained his extraordinary eclecticism simply: “I’ve realized that I only make my life poorer by deciding there’s something I’m not interested in,” he said. “Your life gets richer the more things you decide you like.”
NPR Tiny Desk Concert https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eTyIolxWcE
The Town Hall Presents: Béla Fleck / Zakir Hussain / Edgar Meyer
with Rakesh Chaurasia
Thursday November 15, 2018 at 8:00pm (doors 7:30pm)
Event Link: http://thetownhall.org/event/fleck-hussain-meyer
THE TOWN HALL
123 West 43rd Street (between 6th Avenue and Broadway)
New York, NY 10036
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