Concert Preview: Béla Fleck and the Flecktones
By Matt Hose
Bela Fleck & The Flecktones
1337 India Street, San Diego, CA 92101
March 13 & March 14 at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm
Can the return of an original band member after twenty years raise a band to its former glory?
With the 2011 release of “Rocket Science,” Béla Fleck & The Flecktones have definitively answered that question in the affirmative.
Alongside the returned harmonica-virtuoso Howard “Man With Two Brains” Levy, They will showcase the new album and classic jams at The Anthology in downtown San Diego on March 13 and 14.
Levy left the band in 1992 following the release of their third album. The Flecktones then tried out various other musicians but never found the true cohesiveness that marked the original lineup. Following the departure of saxophonist Jeff Coffin, who joined Dave Matthews Band after the tragic death of LeRoi Moore, Fleck asked Levy to rejoin the band. The album that followed was a return to the genre-hopping virtuoso style that has constantly redefined bluegrass, traditional jazz, and jazz-fusion.
Now, the band boasts the moniker “The Original Flecktones” as they hit the stage on their new tour with all four original band members.
Béla Fleck is also sure to bring a new style to the stage. During the group’s hiatus in 2009, he traveled to Africa to discover the roots of the banjo. There, he conquered the boundaries of language through music. Songs such as “Falani” carry hints of this influence on the new album.
Seeming to plea for one more award through the title of his song, Fleck also earned his twelfth Grammy for the song “Life In Eleven” off the band’s new album.