Sam's Town Live 4-14-01
Bela Fleck & the Flecktones
Bluegrass Meets Reggae
by Don Brown Sr.
The Jazz Internet
Las Vegas Jazz n' Blues
Las Vegas Blues
Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if Bill Monroe toted a joint and emoted Woman Don't Cry, with Bob Marley poised at his side playing second fiddle? Think no further ...
At Sam's Town Live in Las Vegas, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones took the stage to a packed house. If you want to hear Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Bluegrass, Classical, and music that can't be categorized, then the Flecktones are the band for you.
Always one to surprise, the band played a new tune called Billy Bob Marley for the late Bill Monroe and Bob Marley. They also played Scratch And Sniff from their Grammy winning CD Outbound. Another new song was played and the audience asked to think up a name. It was written by sax man Jeff Coffin, so I'll call it Coffin's Lament.
Bass player Victor Lemonte Wooten soloed extensively as the rest of the band left the stage. He ripped into the bass and played so well and fast the crowd went nuts, giving Wooten a well deserved ovation.
Next Future Man came out and did his solo on his own invention called the synthax drumitar. He carries it around like a guitar but it sounds like a drum. It was as amazing to see this instrument as it was to hear it.
Jeff Coffin played great all night and once even played two saxes at the same time. After watching this band for ninety one minutes I had no doubt there wasn't anything they couldn't do.
Last but not least, Bela Fleck added a great banjo solo which included Dueling Banjos and the song from the peanuts where they all get up and dance. Finally the rest of the band came back onstage for their encore of Aaron Copeland's Hoedown.
Wow! What a night. I'll never listen to Bill Monroe and Bob Marley with the same ear again.
Editor's note: Least I get my good friend Don Brown Sr. in trouble, I confess to having written the disjointed prologue where Bob Marley meets Bill Monroe. And Don, great call on Coffin's Lament. Have you sent that suggestion along to Bela yet?
the Flecktones are comprised of Fleck on acoustic and electric banjos, Victor Wooten on bass, Jeff Coffin on saxophones and flute, and Future Man (Wooten's brother Roy) on synthax drumitar and percussion
Photography by Don Brown Sr. copyright © 2001-2003
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