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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The fab four return with their eclectic, visionary signature sound.
Even though there hasn't been much of a member shake-up since the band's inception in 1988, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones have just released a brand new record featuring their classic lineup.
Fleck first united the Flecktones in 1988. The original members included Howard Levy, who played piano, harmonica, and ocarina, among other instruments; bass guitarist Victor...
Published on 18 May 2011 by Le Club du Jazz

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not sure yet
I very much welcome the fact that Howard Levy is back on this one but am not sure I like this as much as I had expected.
The playing is good, but the writing appears entirely irrelevant to me at this point-I'll give it a few more spins and may revise this review accordingly.
The bass, although quite well played sounds either muddy or, as is the case on most...
Published on 12 Jun 2011 by inkster


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The fab four return with their eclectic, visionary signature sound., 18 May 2011
This review is from: Rocket Science (Audio CD)
Even though there hasn't been much of a member shake-up since the band's inception in 1988, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones have just released a brand new record featuring their classic lineup.
Fleck first united the Flecktones in 1988. The original members included Howard Levy, who played piano, harmonica, and ocarina, among other instruments; bass guitarist Victor Lemonte Wooten, and his brother Roy "Future Man" Wooten on the drumitar, an electronic drum shaped like a guitar.
The Flecktones recorded their eponymous debut album in 1990 and followed it up with "Flight of the Cosmic Hippo" (1991).
From the start, there was a special kinship between the four musicians, a bond forged in a mutual passion for creativity and artistic advancement. Two more breakthrough albums and a whole lot of live dates followed before Howard Levy decided to move on in late 1992.
The departure of pianist/harmonica player and founding member in 1992 left the band as a trio. They persevered, playing as a trio for years and with many special guests, before saxophonist Jeff Coffin joined the ensemble in 1998.
After the passing of Dave Matthews Band saxophonist LeRoi Moore in 2008, Coffin took a hiatus from the band to help out the DMB camp, igniting the spark that brought Levy back to the fold in 2009.
Now, with the original lineup in place, the jazz fusion quartet's new album, "Rocket Science", is the first studio effort in 20 years that sees the incarnation of Bela Fleck, Howard Levy, and brothers Victor and Roy "Future Man" Wooten holding it down with their eclectic signature sound.
This reunion is not only a treat for fans, but for the band members as well.
The re-entry of Levy allows them to visit the past in true Flecktone style, meaning it re-examines old strengths, but in new ways. Levy doubles on keys and harmonica, allowing for another chordal instrument when appropriate.
While Levy certainly didn't invent jazz harmonica, it's a much less blatantly "Jazz" instrument than Jeff Cottons saxophone, reminding just how left field this band was in 1990.
Victor Wooten remains one of the best bassists on the planet and his chops are as staggering as ever.
Hearing him again in this "old" context, you can feel by how much more mature and musical Victor's choices are. He was never merely about flash over substance but his impressive skills are more cogent than ever.
Bela Fleck - from his part - is not just one of the best banjo players in the world, he is one of the most daring musicians around, using his popularity to explore new challenges.
The new album is a real treat for Bela's fans.
"Rocket Science" is just that - an extraordinary collection of tunes by unbelievably talented musicians at the height of their craft.
The CD, that features banjo, keyboards, harmonica, bass, percussion and Future Man's drumitar, is at once a new and a familiar listening experience.
There's that unmistakable banjo as the musical backbone of an upbeat "Gravity Time" right out of the gate.
"Prickly Pear" is funky while "Joyful Spring" is light, simple and pretty.
The banjo is paired with Howard Levy's harmonica on "Falani", one of best tracks on the album.
Keyboards take a central role in "Sweet Pomegranates".
The last track, "Bottle Rocket", is the Flecktone full meal deal, upsized.
All the players find their stride in this amazing piece, which will almost certainly find its way into the Flecktones' concert playlist.
In all honesty, it's hard to say if this album mark a return of a fab band from the past, or just a new beginning of a brilliamt, energetic and energizing jazz group.

My favourite tracks: "Gravity Lane", "Sweet Pomegranates", and "Bottle Rocket".
Enjoy!

Update. The album debuts at # 1 of The Billboard Top Jazz albums. Issue date: Week of June 04, 2011.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 29 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Rocket Science (Audio CD)
This cd is very hard to find in music stores in Indonesia, this is a great CD and the i like this artist. I received this CD just in time. Thank you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and virtuosity from the Flecktones, 5 Jan 2012
By 
os - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Rocket Science (Audio CD)
Nothing quite prepares you for the musical quirkiness,diversity and technical ability that marks out Bela Fleck and the Flecktones as a group worthy of every possible accolade.Bela Fleck is of course one of the best banjo players on the planet, but more then that, he is a true adventurer.He has managed to stretch the harmonic language and technical scope of what was previously thought possible or even desirable, for the banjo,so that he can fit comfortably into just about any conceivable musical setting.For me the standout musician in this masterful quartet is Howard Levey- his contributions on Harmonica as give the group an extra melodic dimension that helps give what ever he's playing over,greater substance and appeal.But there are no passengers in this group-all are virtuosos and all have a singular voice on their respective (and often exotic) instruments.

Mixing hints of jazz, with blues, folk, rock and what can only be loosely termed World Music,the album still has a central musical identity that is anchored around great band interplay and well developed compositional skills.The key words are 'fun' and 'adventure'. If this sounds like you, then this set defiantly deserves a listen.Given the nature of the music, it is necessary to give it time,especially if like me you are new to Bela and the boys.

I like this album as something to relax to,and because it has some rather nifty grooves and some very propulsive playing,it's very good for in-car entertainment as well. Recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not sure yet, 12 Jun 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Rocket Science (Audio CD)
I very much welcome the fact that Howard Levy is back on this one but am not sure I like this as much as I had expected.
The playing is good, but the writing appears entirely irrelevant to me at this point-I'll give it a few more spins and may revise this review accordingly.
The bass, although quite well played sounds either muddy or, as is the case on most cuts, like a hickup.
I also still think they could do with a "proper drummer or percussionist", but since that's not gonna happen, I guess, mr "future man" will do.
He is doing an ok job too, to my ear, but again nothing "special" or interesting as I hear whenever people such as jim black, joey baron, jack de' Johnette are sitting in the rhythm corner of any project they happen to be a part of, let alone their "own" bands. To me his parts do not sound well planned or reflected upon but random and often too busy.
Bela Fleck himself is on the ball but plays a lot of very well known licks and there is very little new stuff. Surprising and disappointing for a guy with such a comparatively large variety of projects under his belt
The mix too appears to sound a little dense; lacking "air and space".
A main "problem" for me however is that to my ear and after the first two times listening to this cd, the writing is lacking, and that to me is a real problem, especially in the case of a band who have had such a long time to really do something special. It feels stale when compared to the earlier flecktones albums which always managed to excite and still interest me.
Nonetheless, I think it's an ok effort and the fact that Levy is back really makes up for some of the above perceived negatives.
I hope they find back to form on future releases and I sure hope this is not the last from the original and to me, best lineup of the Flecktones.
I also hope that we won't be waiting for such a long time until the next one.
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Rocket Science by Bela Fleck (Audio CD - 2011)
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