Cosmic Hippo Jazz

Béla Fleck - David Grisman

Skyline Stage - Chicago

June 12, 1996

First Appeared in The Music Box, June 1996, Volume 3, #4

Written by John Metzger

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Béla Fleck and the Flecktones stopped by for a pair of concerts at the Skyline Stage in mid-June, both of which featured the David Grisman Quintet as the opening act. Grisman opened the show with a 90-minute set that covered a wide range of musical ground from jazz to bluegrass to klezmer. Both Fleck and mandolin/clarinet player Andy Statman joined Grisman and company for some extraordinary music.

The Flecktones played for over two hours of equally stellar instrumental interplay, which also covered a similarly breadth of stylistic diversity. Both Grisman and Statman joined Fleck and company on a number of songs.  Fleck performed on electric banjo and at times, his style was reminiscent to that of Jerry Garcia.  His trio features bass player Victor Lemonte Wooten and Roy Wooten on a SynthAxe Drumitar, a self-invented, guitar-shaped oddity that plays a wide array of percussion sounds.

Throughout the show, Fleck and his ensemble wandered throughout the audience on several occasions, giving extremely up-close and personal views of their magical performance. In 1991, Fleck released his most widely known album Flight of the Cosmic Hippo, and prior to the performance of this song, he and the band launched stuffed hippos into the crowd via giant rubber bands. Overall, this was a phenomenal show that was full of musical inspiration as well as some light-hearted fun.

Bela Fleck's Live Art is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

Andy Statman and David Grisman's Songs of Our Fathers
is available from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

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Copyright © 1996 The Music Box