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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5

24 Ratings

Amazing and Incredible at the same time

Michael Faas,

Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile continue the journey of innovation, transcending the boundaries of string, classical, bluegrass and music in general. Their masterful technique, expertise of different genres and enthusiasm to explore and document renders new forms of music, true maturity of their musical relationship and a recording that is delightful to listen to. Thank you Edgar and Chris, would love to hear this performed on Mill Street Mall someday.

Bass + Mandolin (+ Piano + Guitar) = Masterful Music

FHBoy,

Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer are no strangers to the world of music. They are, quite literally in fact, "geniuses" in the art of their instruments, in meticulously perfect musical performances, and in crafting complex and dynamic musical compositions.

The follow-up to their 2008 duo debut is a surprisingly varied collection of instrumentation and musical styles. As always, the musicianship is nothing short of virtuostic, and the inclusion of other instruments continues the trend started on the "Goat Rodeo" album, with Thile and Meyer showing their expertise on other instruments besides the bass and mandolin (kind of ironic, given the fact the name of the album is 'Bass & Mandolin').

The sheer number of projects these two are involved in now is staggering. Thile alone has this duo, a duo with Michael Daves, his bands Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers, and even his own solo work. It's amazing these two even had time to come together and collaborate given their touring schedules.

One noticeable difference between the debut album and this record is the inclusion of a little reverb in the performance. Whereas the 2008 record opted for a more 'dead' sound, 'Bass & Mandolin' incorporates just enough reverb in each performance to help make the compositions come to life even more.

One can only hope Thile and Meyer will be able to continue to collaborate and create as sonically rich LPs as this one in the future. Who knows. Maybe the next record can be called 'Bass & Mandolin & All The Other Instruments You Didn't Think We Played.'

About Edgar Meyer

The masterful skills of Edgar Meyer -- whether as bassist or composer; in bluegrass, classical, or a mix of genres -- earned him a MacArthur "genius grant" in 2002, but that is not the only accomplishment of this remarkable musician.

Meyer always credits his father, a high-school string music director, as his first teacher, and picked up his first real bass -- which had previously served as a flower planter -- at the age of five. He would go on to study at Indiana University and the Aspen Music School with Stuart Stankey and James Buswell. It was Stankey, he says, that showed him how to make the double bass his own. And it was in Aspen where Meyer connected with Béla Fleck. (Meyer also met his wife in the Aspen School's orchestra.) Fleck introduced Meyer to Dobroist Jerry Douglas and violinist Mark O'Connor. After assisting Meyer on his first four albums, all four of them plus mandolinist Sam Bush became the group Strength in Numbers, generally classified as a bluegrass group, but going beyond that sound. That willingness to explore and create new and distinctive styles, as well as his musicianship, is what has always drawn other musicians and audiences to Meyer's music. During the 1980s, artists such as Garth Brooks, Emmylou Harris, the Indigo Girls, the Chieftains, Elton John, and others sought out Meyer for their albums. At the same time, Meyer became recognized among traditional Classical circles as a rare virtuoso of the small and ignored double bass repertoire, and earned an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1994.

Meyer's own music is an organic combination of written and improvised sections, fusing folk and jazz and classical styles into something new. Professional collaborations bring out the best of his work, with album after album garnering critical praise. Appalachia Waltz and Appalachian Journey, his two albums with with O'Connor and Yo-Yo Ma, topped charts and best-of lists. Appalachian Journey won a Grammy Award, and the three artists appeared on Late Night with David Letterman. In 2011 Ma and Meyer joined with mandolinist Chris Thile (another MacArthur genius) for The Goat Rodeo Sessions. Meyer and Thile have also released two successful duet albums (2008 and 2014) and toured together, which is something Meyer often does when he finds a winning combination of colleagues.

Meyer worked with Fleck and Zakir Hussain to write a triple concerto and other pieces for double bass, banjo, and tabla; and with Joshua Bell for Meyer's Concerto for double bass and violin. His concerto for violinist Hilary Hahn is a rare work written for a single instrument and not the bass. Others Meyer has worked with include Mike Marshall and Emanuel Ax. Meyer still does solo recitals, with his longtime pianist Amy Dorfman, in programs featuring classical works alongside his own music, and he continues his relationship with Aspen, returning each year to mentor new students himself. Meyer once again collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and Chris Thile for Bach: Trios, an album of new arrangements of J.S. Bach keyboard pieces released in April 2017. ~ Patsy Morita

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