Submitted by Abe Zarate
Sunday, September 30, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
Beantown Jazz Festival
Béla Fleck and the Marcus Roberts Trio
$39,$34, $29, reserved seating
Béla Fleck and Marcus Roberts continue their collaboration, bringing it to the Berklee stage for the first time. Two forward- thinking and unique musicians, both top improvisers on their instruments. The unique mix of banjo and piano creates a new way forward in jazz, while pulling from each man’s extensive background and musical journey to create a sound that is exuberant, fresh, soaring, and bold. After a one-off concert at the Savannah Music Festival that Afropop Worldwide called “staggering, awe-inspiring,” Rounding out the group will be Roberts’ trio members, bassist Rodney Jordan and drummer Jason Marsalis. Grammy-winner Béla Fleck is often considered the premier banjo player in the world. He began experimenting with playing bebop jazz on his banjo, mentored by fellow banjo renegade Tony Trischka.
Marcus Roberts, a brilliant pianist and improviser from Jacksonville, Florida, has always been influenced by the early exposure to his mother’s gospel singing and the music of his local church. Although he lost his sight at age five, in 1983 he won the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, followed by first prize in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 1987. In 1985, at age 21, Roberts joined Wynton Marsalis’s band and toured and recorded with the trumpeter for the next six years, winning considerable renown as the core of the band’s rhythm section.