Bela Fleck w/Marian McPartland
Manhattan Beach Studios
NY, NY US
Broadcast date: 2013-05-31
Performance date: 1995-07-28
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Marian McPartland - piano; Bela Fleck - banjo; Gary Mazzaroppi - bass
"In Walked Bud" (T.S. Monk) 4:50
"The Star Spangled Banner" (J.P. Sousa) 2:21
"First Light" (B. Fleck) 2:12
"Delicate Balance" (M. McPartland) 3:20
"All the Things You Are" (J. Kern, O. Hammerstein) 3:46
"Not Really" (B. Fleck) 2:23
"Free Thing" (M. McPartland) 3:38
"Polka Dots and Moonbeams" (J. Burke, J. Van Heusen)
"Crystal Silence" (C. Corea, F. Potter) 3:16
"Royal Garden Blues" (C. Williams) 3:45
Total Time: 56:05
On this installment of Piano Jazz with and bassist Gary Mazzaroppi, brings his jazz sensibilities to a set of originals and standards, opening with a refreshing take on 's "In Walked Bud."
Fleck plays his solo arrangement of "The Star Spangled Banner," surely one of the most original takes on Sousa's piece since at Woodstock. His virtuoso banjo picking lends a rootsy, front-porch feel to the piece. This is one instance where the term "Americana" fits perfectly.
McPartland favors her guest with a solo in an original tune, "A Delicate Balance," while Fleck and Mazzaroppi join her for a trio workout of the jazz gold standard, "All the Things You Are." Next, Fleck and McPartland get together for some free improvisation in an atonal feel that sneaks in a few bars of a groove. The two exchange skittering bars in a serious yet playful, George Russell-meets-Earl Scruggs manner.
"There's no wrong notes — either that or they're all wrong notes," Fleck says.
"I prefer to think there are no wrong ones," McPartland replies.
The pair plays a lovely duet of the ballad "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," and bassist Mazzaroppi joins in to close the session in the spirit of the Jazz Age, in a tune that was surely heard on the banjo when it was first published: "Royal Garden Blues," from 1919.
Originally recorded July 28, 1995. Originally broadcast March 23, 1996.