Béla Fleck and Chick Corea at The Orpheum

On Saturday night The Orpheum Theater will host the duo of masters Béla Fleck and Chich Corea. This is a rare opportunity to see two genius level players work through an evening of improvisational collaboration. I caught up with Fleck over email to talk a bit about the project and the differences between Bluegrass and Jazz improvisation (my questions in blue).


Tell me a little bit about the origins of your project with Chick Corea:

I’ve been a fan of Chick’s since Return to Forever days, and in fact I would call him a primary influence. My invitation to guest on one of my albums led to him inviting me to do a duo album and tour. It’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me musically!


When the two of you are playing together for extended periods do you find that each particular idiom helps to inform the other? Is one sound more or less dominant?

It’s hard to tell exactly what is happening, a lot of it is happening in our unconscious minds, but we are both very responsive and playfulness and fun a re big part of our duo’s energy. But I can never completely escape bluegrass, and Chick can never completely shake jazz, so both are constant elements.Bluegrass, Jazz and Country


What is do you find the major differences between bluegrass improvisation and jazz improvisation to be?

I once heard it said that bluegrass was jazz for the harmonically impaired! I hope that’s not true , but I have my worries! Bluegrass improv might be defined as using bluegrass language to improvise, and not straying from it. In jazz that can be said to be true as well – or not. Depends on the musician.


As rooted as both of your styles are in very American genres of music, do you find that the one is able to inform the other? Do they fit together in unexpected ways?

Rhythm is the component that makes our deal work. We do agree on the feel of 16th notes, and that makes surprising things work out instantly.


Fleck and Corea have released a couple of records together. In 2007 they released The Enchantment. Then in September of last year, they released Two which is a live two disc set of recordings for their performances. These live recording capture the stunning skill and improvisational talent of these musicians. Make it a point to go out and see them on Saturday, you will not forget this performance.


Sturgill Simpson A Sailor’s Guide to Earth

Tomorrow Sturgill Simpson will release his third record and followup to 2014’s wildly successful Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. While the subject of this record is a bit more compact (it follows the birth of his son and his reaction to fatherhood), the depth of thought and care of craft we have come to expect of Simpson’s work is on full display. Simpson is joined by the Dap-Kings horns for many of the songs here which lend a distinctly funky air to the proceedings. As usual Simpson is able to balance a classic country sound with a level of experimentation that elevates and highlights the introspective nature of his lyricism. This is another fantastic record from an artist who is only becoming more comfortable with his role.


To Do This Week

Tonight check out Brass Bed at Gasa Gasa. They have a new record coming out soon, expect to see a lot of new material. Saturday make sure to see Chick Corea and Bela Fleck at The Orpheum. If you’re looking for something a little harder on Saturday Amon Amarth will be at the House of Blues. Sunday Dawes and Hiss Golden Messenger will be at Tips. Also on Sunday Kurt Vile will be at Republic. Monday Ben Folds and Y Music will be at the Joy Theater. Tuesday check out Guts Club with Real Live Tigers at the Circle Bar. Wednesday The Joy Formidable will be at One Eyed Jacks. This week’s Wednesdays at the Square bands are Honey Island Swamp Band and Alexis and the Samurai.


To Listen This Week

New track from Paul Simon via Youtube.

Anna Wise debuts Precious Possession via CoS

New video and tour announcement from the Eagulls via Youtube