On Saturday, April 16, the Orpheum Theater in New Orleans opened its doors for a unique show, welcoming the Chick Corea & Béla Fleck Duo. A couple of days prior to the show, I had the opportunity to speak with Béla Fleck on the phone.
Béla Fleck is one busy musician. The 16-time Grammy Award-winner banjoist still runs his 20-year-plus old project Béla Fleck & the Flecktones with bassist Victor Wooten, tours in a bluegrass banjo duo with his wife Abigail Washburn, and for the past 8 years has recorded and toured with jazz pianist Chick Corea.
Corea, major figure in the development of the electric jazz fusion movement after his brief passage in Miles Davis’ band, is an expert in the art of the duo. With classic collaborative albums like his grand releases aside vibraphonist Gary Burton, his more recent piano face-off with Japanese virtuoso Hiromi, or yet live duo sets with his friend and former Return to Forever bandmate, bassist Stanley Clarke, Corea seems to enjoy the challenges of one-on-one conversations in music.
Corea’s collaboration with Fleck is one that was achieved consistent success over the past eight years. The project brought about two recordings. 2007’s The Enchantment captured the raw voices of a very fresh connection, with Corea and Fleck finding their way around one another’s playing on a record that was made in less than four days.
Two (Live), the two-CD set they released last September, was compiled from various live recordings from the 55 shows the pair played in the seven years that followed The Enchantment. It includes massively-reworked tunes from the previous release, as well as new titles, that display the playful complicity that developed between the two musicians during their years on the road.
Today, Fleck and Corea are on the road again, and will take their duo to the Orpheum Theater in New Orleans on Saturday, April 16. I caught up with Béla Fleck over the phone, as he was preparing for another show in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Continue reading Interview: Béla Fleck Opens Up About His Duo With Chick Corea