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Ten From Little Worlds


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Audio CD, August 12, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This 10-song distillation of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones' three-CD set Little Worlds gives a sense of the ambitiousness, audacity, and, at times, absurdity of the full package. The musicianship of Fleck and his compatriots bassist Victor Wooten, saxophonist/flautist Jeff Coffin, and electro-percussionist Future Man is as accomplished as ever. Even when they are engaging in a slice of silliness like their version of "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," which they re-imagine as a sort of a rap rhapsody, the intelligence and sheer inventiveness of the performers keeps the music from descending to a trivial level. Guest artists here come from a wide range of traditions, including Branford Marsalis, Nickel Creek, the Chieftains, Fleck's former New Grass Revival band mate Sam Bush, and the Tuvan throat singer Congar Ol Ondar. One of the most intriguing visitors is Pamelia Kurstin, who plays Theremin on a couple of cuts. The music combines experimental sonic textures, complex harmonies, intricate rhythms, and charming melodies with impressive instrumental chops. Béla Fleck and the Flecktones are serious musicians, but their music, which is infused with joy, is never somber. --Michael Simmons

Amazon.com

This 10-song distillation of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones' three-CD set Little Worlds gives a sense of the ambitiousness, audacity, and, at times, absurdity of the full package. The musicianship of Fleck and his compatriots bassist Victor Wooten, saxophonist/flautist Jeff Coffin, and electro-percussionist Future Man is as accomplished as ever. Even when they are engaging in a slice of silliness like their version of "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," which they re-imagine as a sort of a rap rhapsody, the intelligence and sheer inventiveness of the performers keeps the music from descending to a trivial level. Guest artists here come from a wide range of traditions, including Branford Marsalis, Nickel Creek, the Chieftains, Fleck's former New Grass Revival band mate Sam Bush, and the Tuvan throat singer Congar Ol Ondar. One of the most intriguing visitors is Pamelia Kurstin, who plays Theremin on a couple of cuts. The music combines experimental sonic textures, complex harmonies, intricate rhythms, and charming melodies with impressive instrumental chops. Béla Fleck and the Flecktones are serious musicians, but their music, which is infused with joy, is never somber. --Michael Simmons

1. Bill Mon
2. The Ballad Of Jed Clampett
3. Pineapple Heart
4. Snatchin'
5. Next
6. The Leaning Tower
7. Puffy
8. Sherpa
9. Off The Top (The Gravity Wheel)
10. Off The Top (Line Dance)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 12, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000AKCLH
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #368,921 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jan P. Dennis on October 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The strategy of selecting tunes from a multi-disc release seldom if ever works. I remember Polygram doing the same thing with Randy Weston's great double-disc record, The Spirits of Our Ancestors--releasing African Sunrise, a single-disc spinoff--and it failing miserably. It's easy to see why record companies try this--they've already sunk lots of money into the multi-disc set, and it's going to cost them hardly anything to produce a disc that merely selects tunes from it. But consumers lose. Anybody who goes for the single-disc set is just missing out on some great music. If the companies released the one-disc product at cost, as a promotion to draw potential fans who might not be willing to shell out the $25 for the full disc, that might be different. But I can't shake the feeling that the record companies are ripping off consumers with these single-disc iterations of larger products.
In the case of Bela and the Flecktones' Little Worlds, there's absolutely no reason not to get the full three-disc set. For less than twice the price you get three times the music.
It's not as if discs two and three of the full set are throwaways. Rather, they contain some of the best music, e.g., "Costa Brava," "Mudslingers of the Milky Way," and "Sleeper."
Do yourself a favor and get the entire three-disc set of Little Worlds. You'll be glad you did.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 2003
Format: Audio CD
i have been a bela fleck fan since 1980, & a flecktones fan since they formed in 1990. but with this effort, i will no longer be buying every disk they produce. the 'tones continue two trends, both of which long time fans of the band may find troublesome: the dominance of jeff coffin, and the trend to bring in guest artists by the dozen, obscuring the sound of the band members themselves. the former trend began with "left of cool". coffin's sax, which too often becomes kenny g - like, is at the front of the melody on virtually every track -- that is, unless a guest artist is in the lead. that trend reached annoying proportions on outbound, & is over the top here. i love the flecktones for the flecktones: bela's fretboard excursions, victor's wild bass lines, futch's drumitar. i will continue to see them in concert, whether alone or if they may have one or two guests - but this tendency to add multiple theremins (isn't that a cough suppresant?), dijerdos, etc etc etc is just too much. and the vocals: while i am glad futch has gone back to being just futch, & put his alter ego roy-el on the shelf (at least on this one-disk version of the longer little worlds compilation), divinity & bobby mcpherin meet the flecktones? give me a break. was the world crying out for that musical union? i think not. the ballad of jed clampett is, i know, supposed to be a fun piece - but it is simply not listenable. bil mon is similarly unlistenable. there are a couple of good tracks & two great ones. in particular, tracks 9 & 10, collaborations with the amazing nickel creek, are outstanding. and puffy, a long time concert staple, is good.
unlike another reviewer, i am GLAD they released this as a 1 disk alternative to the 3 disk package.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Tedesco on May 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Let me start by saying I am a long-time Flecktones fan since the days of Howard Levy, and I own the 3-disc set as well as this companion release. The 3-disc set is a true masterpiece, and I would recommend it strongly and without hesitation. It is the truest representation of all the Flecktones have to offer. Others seem to share this sentiment--at the writing of this review, it has a 5-star average rating. I am writing this particular review because, much to my dismay, this single-disc release is doing far worse. This ought to be remedied.
First, I should start by saying what this CD is *not*. It is not a representation of the full power and wonder of the Flecktones. Even the full 3-disc set falls short here (though it comes very, very close), as the live Flecktones experience is impossible to replicate in the studio (see "Live Art" for the best live replication on CD). The Flecktones alone offer as eclectic a mix of musical inspirations as you'll find--arm them with the dozens of talented guests that visit Little Worlds, and three discs seems barely enough a representation. So, just by nature of time limits, the single disc cannot be as immersive an experience as a 3-disc set.
However, what is immersive and engrossing to one set of ears can be ponderous to another. I say this both in acknowledgment of some unflattering reviews of the 3-disc set that have cropped up, and also in acknowledgment to my own listening tastes. As I have said, I love the 3-disc set, but there are times when it is simply too much Flecktones (if there can be such a thing!), and the single disc is enough to satisfy my listening needs.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BGFN8 on October 15, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I know, interesting title for a five-star review. Why do I say this, you ask? Look at the title of the CD, "Ten From Little Worlds." The key words there are "Ten From." This disc is exactly what it says it is: a highlights compilation from an album called "Little Worlds," a three-CD set which is the most ambitious and arguably best album the Flecktones have yet released.

Not that the music found here is inferior. "Bil Mon," the opening track, is one of the finest recordings found in the Flecktones catalogue. The rap version of "The Ballad Of Jed Clampett" is a very interesting take on the old TV theme song, and it works suprisingly well. The two-part "Off The Top," featuring bluegrass trio Nickel Creek, is phenomenal. "Pineapple Heart" is one of the most beautiful tunes heard in recent memory.

This is a great CD. Like any great CD, it will leave you wanting more. But alas, unlike a lot of great CDs, there actually IS more out there, and it can be found on the full three-disc "Little Worlds." The music from there not found here is not inferior, all of it is great and worth your cash. Don't get me wrong, you will like this CD, but my advice is to ditch this and pick up the full three-disc album. Like I said, you will love this CD, and in the end, you will wish that you had picked up the full album, and if you do, there's about 16 bucks of yours that you spent on something which has now become obsolete. Do yourself a favor, if you are thinking about buying this CD, don't do it. Plunk down a little more cash and get the three-disc album. In the end you will be glad you did.
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