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

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Amazing Blondel - Englische Musicke – Amazing Blondel existed throughout the early 70s, originally formed by John Gladwin and Terry Wincott after leaving another even more obscure band called Methuselah. This compilation is drawn from...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues