Bela Fleck with The Marcus Roberts Trio
A Thanksgiving Week Musical Feast

By Mariah Fleming

Arizona has three opportunities to see the multi talented B√ČLA FLECK during Thanksgiving week. He performs with the Marcus Roberts Trio in Scottsdale, Friday November 23rd; in Tucson, Saturday November 24th; and in Flagstaff on Sunday, November 25th. Any show in which Fleck performs is a don't miss proposition, and it's easy to see why. Fleck is regarded as the premier banjo player in the world. He has single handedly redefined the scope of the banjo, taking if from its roots in bluegrass to anointing it as an infinitely cool jazz instrument.Bela Fleck From his first LP in 1980, "Crossing the Tracks," an LP that spanned straight ahead bluegrass all the way across to Chick Corea's "Spain," to the genre busting Bela Fleck and the Flecktones numerous recordings, to The Africa Projects, Fleck has reintroduced the banjo, and brought new musical adventures to generations of fans.

After being awed by the bluegrass music of Flatt & Scruggs at a young age, Fleck picked up the banjo at age 15. A New York City Native, he enrolled in New York City's High School of Music and Art where he studied the French horn. He was a banjo student under fellow banjo renegade Tony Trischka. In high school he began experimenting with bebop jazz on his banjo, mentored by Trischka. After Fleck released his first solo album, Crossing the Tracks, in 1980, he joined the progressive bluegrass band New Grass Revival in 1982. After the New Grass Revival members decided to pursue different directions, Fleck quickly made a name for himself doing countless solo and ensemble projects. He is one of the premier virtuoso instrumentalists in the world. In 1989 the genre-busting Bela Fleck and the Flecktones hit the stage, with an eclectic group of members as equally talented and musically passionate as himself. The Flecktones recently regrouped for a smash sell out tour.

Fleck's versatility and generosity with his fellow performers is legendary. In every musical ensemble, Fleck's joy for sharing music is evident. His concerts are always captivating, delightful and witty. He is known for meeting and talking to audience members after concerts. After thirty years, Fleck has several generations of fans, and they just keep coming. On this tour, Fleck is performing with THE MARCUS ROBERTS TRIO, led by Marcus Roberts on piano, Jason Marsalis on drums and Rodney Jordan on bass. Roberts, Marsalis and Jordan are devout torch-holders of the classic jazz tradition. The mix of Roberts, Fleck, Jordan, Marsalis creates a bold way forward in jazz. Deeply rooted in the form, pulling from the extensive backgrounds of all the members, they create stellar performances. They're known for their fresh, exuberant, soaring, bold, and always eclectic musical journeys. No matter whom Fleck performs with, it's always a rare treat. For ticket information go to ScottsdalePerformingArts.org; FoxTucsonTheatre.org and OrpheumPresents.com

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