It would be surprising if one day Béla Fleck stopped surprising his followers who got used to the legendary banjoist venturing well beyond traditional idiom and diversifying his art by delving into other genres – playing Muddy Waters alongside Rory Gallagher, for instance – yet listening to the American virtuoso perform George Gershwin’s finest piece alongside classical musicians must still amaze even the staunchest fan of either country or jazz. But that’s exactly what Fleck does on the “Rhapsody In Blue” album which will appear on February 12th.
The release date was not chosen haphazardly: February 12th, 1924 went down in history as the day when Gershwin premiered his future staple at NYC’s “Aeolian Hall” which means so Béla’s set to celebrate its hundredth anniversary – or, rather, been celebrating onstage for some time, as suggested by the video below. And while he’s delivering three variations here, one of these finds the 65-years-old replacing piano with his primary instrument and accompanied by THE VIRGINIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA – as though to echo his own “Concerto For Banjo” recorded with NASHVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA back in 2011. Rounded off with two more George’s compositions, the record promises to be truly sensational.
1. Rhapsody In Blue(grass)
2. Unidentified Piece For Banjo
3. Rhapsody In Blue
(feat. THE VIRGINIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA)
4. Rhapsody In Blue(s)
(feat. Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas & Victor Wooten)
5. Rialto Ripples