The Melody of Rhythm

The Melody of Rhythm

The Melody of Rhythm features three outstanding performers who have worked in a variety of musical settings. Bela Fleck has introduced his banjo into styles as diverse as modern jazz, classical, and African music. The master tabla player Zakir Hussain has collaborated with numerous artists from different genres, and bassist Edgar Meyer brings together two far-flung traditions — classical and bluegrass — and has teamed up with Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor, Nickel Creek and others. The centerpiece here is the title cut, which takes up about half of the album. Subtitled “Triple Concerto & Music for Trio,” the three-movement work spotlights virtuoso exchanges between the key players, along with some nice orchestral passages performed by Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Fleck, Hussain, and Mayer often play at blinding speed, but it’s nice to hear them work with a slower tempo in the second movement. There are appealing timbral combinations here too: who knew banjo and winds could sound so lovely together, as they do in the third movement? And the album’s six other tracks, sans orchestra, delight as well.

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