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The Enchantment

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Album Review

Aside from being legendary multiple Grammy-winning jazzmen on very different instruments, Chick Corea (piano) and Béla Fleck (the world's premier jazz banjo master) have a shared love for collaboration and the infinite improvisational possibilities their chosen idiom offers them. In some ways, the two have been preparing for this masterful, musical dialogue-driven masterpiece for over ten years. Fleck, who has always credited Corea as being one of his chief influences, invited the pianist to play on the Flecktones' Tales from the Acoustic Planet, as well as the group's live CD Live Art. Some years later, in 2001, Corea found a spot for Fleck on his Rendezvous in New York DVD. Later, they toured as a duo, making the unique recording of The Enchantment an inevitable artistic extension of their on-stage chemistry. One of the standout elements is the fact that, instead of using their kinetic duality as a springboard for extended one-instrument solo sections, their percussive lines weave and intertwine beautifully throughout, like a mosaic determined to mine uncharted territory. The opening track, Corea's "Señorita," is lively, jumpy, and exotic, while Fleck's "Spectacle" blends his country-plucking guitar with Corea's dramatic, stride-influenced approach. This pattern follows throughout the disc, as the pianist's compositions take on a spicy Latin flavor while the banjo man — on excursions like the folksy "Mountain" and the classic waltz vibe of "Waltse for Abby" — keeps the piano alongside him on the front porch. They also ease into an interesting classical call-and-response mode on Fleck's "A Strange Romance." The lone cover is a take on "Brazil" that swirls Fleck's witty notes and Corea's shimmering ivory flow. Sounds like the continuation of a beautiful friendship. Fleck's "Spectacle" was nominated for a Grammy in 2007 as Best Instrumental Composition.

Biography

Born: 10 July 1958 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Premier banjo player Béla Fleck is considered one of the most innovative pickers in the world and has done much to demonstrate the versatility of his instrument, which he uses to play everything from traditional bluegrass to progressive jazz. He was named after composer Béla Bartok and was born in New York City. Around age 15, Fleck became fascinated with the banjo after hearing Flatt & Scruggs' "Ballad of Jed Clampett" and Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell's "Dueling Banjos," and his grandfather...
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The Enchantment, Béla Fleck
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