Exposé Online banner

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones — Outbound
(Columbia 498921 2, 2000, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2001-12-01

Outbound Cover art

I’ve been a big fan of Béla Fleck for quite a while, so I’m not sure how this one slipped under my radar for so long, especially given the stellar list of guest artists. Béla’s banjos (acoustic, electric, and synthesized) are joined by fellow Flecktones Victor Wooten (one of the greatest bass players of all time), Futureman (inventor and prime exponent of the Synth-Axe Drumitar), and Jeff Coffin on saxes and flutes, plus Jon Anderson (yes, that Jon Anderson), Adrian Belew, John Medeski, Shawn Colvin, Paul McCandless of Oregon fame, and a number of others. There is an increased vocal element to Flecktones music, and in nearly all cases, it works admirably. The band’s unique combination of jazz, rock, funk, and bluegrass is augmented by doses of world music and classical. Their version of Copland’s “Hoe Down” is quite different than the one made famous by ELP, featuring Fleck’s banjo with a distorted effect and some great sax blowing from Coffin. “A Moment So Close” is the band’s closest approach to a pop song, though the odd meters, Tuvan throat singing, tablas, and Middle Eastern tinged strings distinguish it from your average radio fare. Other tracks feature similar wide variety of sounds, and if I have one small complaint, it’s that there is sometimes just too much going on. The lightning fast unison lines we’ve come to love are all over, like what might have happened if the Mahavishnu Orchestra, after going east, had come west and combined the two.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 23, 2000 releases

Related artist(s): Jon Anderson, Adrian Belew, Roy Wooten (Futureman), Béla Fleck, Victor Wooten, John Medeski

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Zao - Akhenaton – After a decade and a half, the zeuhl-fusion ensemble Zao are back with a release that is a real treat. While the lineup has changed from the classic formation which included Didier Lockwood on violin...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues