The University of Georgia Performing Arts Center will present Béla Fleck, internationally acclaimed banjo player, who will join forces with classic jazz traditionalists the Marcus Roberts Trio on Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. in Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall. The evening will showcase selections from the musicians’ recently released album “Across the Imaginary Divide.”
At the 2010 Savannah Music Festival, Fleck sat in with jazz pianist Marcus Roberts for an impromptu jam session. The unlikely pairing caused a sensation and resulted in a new, critically acclaimed recording. The United Kingdom’s Guardian has praised “Across the Imaginary Divide” for its “jaw-dropping playing,” and JazzTimes said, “Roberts and Fleck have real chemistry. Everyone’s clearly having fun throughout.”
A native New Yorker, Fleck began playing the banjo at age 15 after being impressed by the bluegrass music of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. In 1980, he released his first solo album “Crossing the Tracks” with material that ranged from straight bluegrass to Chick Corea’s “Spain.” In 1982, Fleck joined the progressive bluegrass band New Grass Revival, and in 1989 he formed the Flecktones. Boasting 30 nominations and 14 Grammy awards, Fleck’s nominations represent the most diverse in terms of categories than anyone in Grammy history.
Roberts, who lost his sight at age five, founded his trio in 1995. Led by Roberts on piano, the group also features Jason Marsalis on drums and Rodney Jordan on bass. Although the piano is typically the focus of most jazz trios, all musicians in the Marcus Roberts Trio equally share in shaping the direction of the music. The trio is known for a virtuosic style that is rhythmic, melodic and filled with contrast.
Tickets for the Béla Fleck and Marcus Roberts Trio concert cost $20-$47 with discounts for UGA students and groups of 10 or more. Tickets can be purchased online at pac.uga.edu or by calling the box office at 706/542-4400 or toll free at 888/289-8497.
Brad and Vera Tucker and The Law Offices of John F. Lyndon are the underwriters for the performance. WUGA 91.7/97.9 FM is the media sponsor.
This concert is part of the Spotlight on the Arts at UGA, a nine-day celebration of the arts at the university Nov. 3-11. For more information, see arts.uga.edu.