Music for Two

Sony Classical

The premise: an instrumental banjo-bass duo album, recorded live over the course of three tours. The compositions are split nearly evenly, between classical pieces by Bach and Eccles and original numbers by Fleck and/or Meyer, with a Miles Davis tune (“Solar,” from 1954’s “Walkin’”) thrown in for good measure.

It works beautifully. Fleck’s banjo and Meyer’s double bass sound better together than might be expected. Meyer switches between plucking and using a bow, sometimes in the same song.

Many of the original numbers were written for the tours, making them works in progress that were rehearsed on the road. But that doesn’t make them less than satisfactory. On the contrary, in this avant-garde duo’s masterful hands, those songs’ evolutionary nature allows for inspired improvisation.

The development of Meyer’s “Canon” is chronicled in the bonus DVD “Obstinato: Making ‘Music for Two.’” The 40-minute documentary was directed by Fleck’s brother, Sascha Paladino, who road-managed the second tour and brought along a videocamera. The DVD also includes two extra audio cuts: “Green Slime” and “Happy Drum Drum Monkey Girl.”

1. Bug Tussle
2. Invention No. 10
3. Pile-Up
4. Prelude No. 24
5. Solar
6. Blue Spruce
7. Canon
8. The One I Left Behind
9. Menuett I-II from ‘Partita No. 1’
10. Prelude No. 2
11. Palmyra
12. The Lake Effect
13. Largo from ‘Sonata’
14. Allegro Vivace from ‘Sonata’
15. Wrong Number
16. Woolly Mammoth
17. Wishful Thinking

Total time: 1.2 hours

External Links
artist’s website
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