17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss out on this CD!
This is an early example of one of the most innovative bands in existence. If you only like to listen to bands that you can categorize, skip this CD. These four amazing musicians combine the best from all genres to make the best music possible. This CD is all instrumental. Bela Fleck plays the banjo and electric banjo in ways you have only heard if you're familiar...
Published on July 9, 2000 by Belafan
0 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I don't want to enter a title.
I'm not sure if other people have had this problem, but the copy I received is so full of flaws as to be pretty much unlistenable. It almost sounds like someone took a needle and just scratched out a few seconds every minute or so; it's full of blips and gaps. At several points on the second track the music just cuts off for a full 15 seconds. As for the parts which are...
Published on April 26, 2006 by Brendan D F Hanberry
Most Helpful First | Newest First
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss out on this CD!,
This is an early example of one of the most innovative bands in existence. If you only like to listen to bands that you can categorize, skip this CD. These four amazing musicians combine the best from all genres to make the best music possible. This CD is all instrumental. Bela Fleck plays the banjo and electric banjo in ways you have only heard if you're familiar with this artist. He is amazing! Victor Wooten, in turn, plays bass in new and amazing ways. He will astound you. Howard Levy plays piano and harmonica (often at the same time) and gets an outrageous range of notes from a simple diatonic harmonica. You have to hear it to believe it. Finally. Roy Wooten (aka Future Man) provides percussion in a completely different way. He has built a synth-axe drumitar which he plays flawlessly. You'll believe you are listening to real drums, but it creates other effects as well. If you don't have this one yet, by all means don't hesitate! Buy it now!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Flight of Fleck Finery and a Flecktone Favorite,
How can I describe this genre bending CD. Five stars isn't enough, I can tell you that. Not a bad track on here at all.
Is this 'Funk-grass' or 'Jazz-grass' or 'New-Grass'????? Defies definition and therefore satisifies the longing for superb music.
Buy it you won't be disappointed. Wonderful rendition of the Beatles 'Michelle'... excellent re-tooling of our National Anthem ... super version of Star of the County Down...marvelous original compositions as well.
Why haven't you heard more of Fleck?
American Radio only seems to cater to the mediocre ... Fleck is not.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flecktone Excellence,
Sometimes, just sometimes, an artist manages to come up with a title and album cover so perfectly suited to the music that it seems like destiny is at work. Flight of the Cosmic Hippo is one of those discs; it's a wacky, unnervingly addictive stew of musical playfulness like nothing else out there, and all the fun humor is only a bonus on top of the mind-bending virtuosity and stellar composition on offer. Just take four minutes to listen to the head-spinning "Blu-Bop" and you'll know what I mean; it flows as smoothly as the simplest three-chord rock ballad, yet the interweaving melodies make a kaleidoscopic spectrum of tones complex enough to induce a migraine if you try picking them apart. Bela had already established a reputation as an extraordinary banjoist before forming the group, and outside the bluegrass framework most of his solo work had occupied, his all-encompassing musical sensibility here just runs completely hog-wild. (Take cover!)
The cover tunes here seem to run between the high and low ends of the spectrum, which is why I notch down a star. "Star of the County Down," propelled by Howard Levy's masterful harmonica, is beautifully reworked into a slow, bluesy country waltz. "The Star-Spangled Banner" is hardly recognizable at first, being embellished with furious banjo picking and a shuffling synth-drum beat more suited to a lively jazz performance. The track bears numerous repeat listenings and ends up surprisingly resistant to becoming a one-time novelty, but their reworking of the Beatles' "Michelle" never gets off the ground to me. I keep wishing they'd used that album space for another of Bela's own tunes instead. Every one of those is a dynamic, fascinating exercise in modern composition, from the oddly funky groove of "Flying Saucer Dudes" to the driving "Turtle Rock" to the strange odd time signatures of "Jekyll and Hyde (and Ted and Alice)." If you're a musician you'll be blown away by the sheer superhuman skill of everyone in the group.. if not, you'll still have to admit that it just sounds really awesome.
Bela and his Tones embody the true spirit of fusion more than possibly anyone else - they take great delight in bending, ignoring or destroying any notions of style or genre we might have, making everything sound fresh, inventive and full of promise. Cosmic Hippo can't quite compare with the monumental Live Art as their most perfect album, but there's enough incredible stuff to make it well worth picking up. Just be prepared to spend more money on the others once you get hooked.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great CD From The Flecktones,
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, that amazing quartet who gave us their 1990 self-titled album as well as their UFO TOFO CD, now gives us another masterpiece. The group consists of the Wooten Brothers on bass guitar and drum synthesiser, banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck and Howard Levy on piano and harmonica.
The presence of Fleck's banjo makes it difficult to disassociate their music from Bluegrass, but the music they play is much more complex. Jazz-Fusion is a catch-all phrase that is used as a blanket to cover almost anything modern in the Jazz world. this album would probably fall into that category. The music is other-worldly without being so out there as to be rendered unlistenable.
Again, Howard Levy's magical approach to the humble diatonic harmonica is nothing short of miraculous. To non-harmonica playing listeners, it might seem that you are simply listening to a great harmonica player. But to those of us who know the instrument, Howard is playing notes that aren't even built into the instrument. using a technique known as "overblowing", Levy is able to coax out notes that don't even appear in a lot of western musics. Just on a technical level, this album is monumental.
I strongly urge anyone to buy this CD for their collection.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I scratched my first cd and quickly went out to buy another,
This is one of the best CDs the Flecktones have put out. This has to be one of the most interesting mixes of musicians I have heard to date. Not only do they work well together, the music played on here stretches the boundaries of modern music with so many injections of different genres, some of which I wouldn't even know how to classify.
I first got into the Flecktones because of Victor Wooten. This stuff was so odd from the start that I really didn't know how to take it. Boy did it grow on me! All the thought that was put into each song is very evident...from Howard Levy using a paper cup to muffle his harmonica on the track "Flight of the Cosmic Hippo" to the patriotic rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" that may leave you standing with your chest in the air. This is modern music done in a way many havn't heard before...the Flecktone way.
Very progressively refreshing stuff!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply fun,
Bela Fleck and his Flecktones show their playful side here. Starting with the silly-fun title, the whole CD is full of surprises and especially the 11/8 meters and similar expertly executed tricks keep the listener on his toes. The Flecktones obviously enjoyed this session, given the way they maliciously mess with the listener! Fun stuff, and some are catchy, too.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Bela Fleck CD of All,
Bela Fleck pioneered the fusion of bluegrass and jazz. I don't know of anyone else out there who has more effectively combined these two highly disparate art forms.
This CD, though, is the best one he has done to date. The title track is just so-so, but almost all of the others are just amazing for sheer jazz energy and virtuousity. If this CD would be your first exposure to this music, you're geting the best of all right up front.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful fun!,
Fabulous musical comedy! Love it love it love it! Bela and his bunch of brilliants are pure genius in this unique and clever set of "songs", if you can even call them that. Along with their incredible virtuosity, the album brings joy, laughter, awesome solos, and tons of fun (Hippo pun intended). It's Bela and his bunch at their best! Just my humble opinion. Check out their Austin City Limits video performance on Utube! Hippos rule! HA!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Great Album! Enjoy every song. Also a great album to use for demonstration of subwoofer capabilities. Flight of the Cosmic Hippo will let you know where your sub stands in its capabilities.
Most Helpful First | Newest First