Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge

by Béla Fleck


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If the banjo king of bluegrass's early days is unquestionably Earl Scruggs, genre-smashing Bela Fleck has firmly held the crown for the past 20 years. Fleck came to the attention of bluegrass fans in 1982, when he took over the banjo chair with progressive pickers New Grass Revival. The young New Yorker sounded determined to channel Charlie Parker through his clanging five-string and build musical bridges spanning the jazz and bluegrass worlds. NATURAL BRIDGE was thus the perfect name for his 1982 solo effort, an instrumental disc that amply displays the fire and excitement of Fleck's groundbreaking vision. "Punchdrunk" and "Bitter Gap" are high-octane Scruggs-style breakdowns, while "Flexibility" sounds more like Django Reinhardt in a Paris cafe. Fleck's compositional palette is broad, and the rotating cast of top players keeps the surprises coming without ever overwhelming the songs with their chops. Mandolinist David Grisman sits in for "Dawg's Due," and Jerry Douglas's dobro, excellent throughout, has never sounded more poignant than on "Daybreak," a Coplandesque duet with Fleck. While Bela spent the '90s exploring the stratosphere with his hippo-hopping Flecktones, NATURAL BRIDGE, almost two decades after its release, continues to sound as sweet as fresh-cut grass. Karl Hagstrom Miller

Product Details

Release Date: 02/08/2000
Label: Rounder / Umgd
UPC: 0011661014626
catalogNumber: 610146
Rank: 138675

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