Airs Thursday, May 2 at 8:00 p.m. Part One of Two: Banjoist Bela Fleck performs alongside exceptional African musicians such as Toumani Diabate, Vusi Mahlasela, D'Gary, Anania Ngoliga and others. Recorded at the Trustees Theater during the Savannah Music Festival. Though the banjo is commonly associated with American musical styles such as country, folk and bluegrass, the stringed instrument was actually adapted from several African musicians before it developed into the modern banjo during the 20th century. One of the most renowned banjoists in the world today is Bela Fleck, who in early 2005, embarked on a trip to Africa in which he collaborated musically with some of the top musicians there. Four years later he assembled some of his favorite musicians from across the African continent and brought them over for a short tour in the United States. During this two-hour program we listen to performances by Toumani Diabate, Vusi Mahlasela, D'Gary, and Anania Ngoliga with their musical partners, and with Bela Fleck and fiddler Casey Driessen.
Airs Thursday, December 13 at 9:00 p.m. Tune in to hear banjoist Bela Fleck with pianist Marcus Roberts and his trio, live from Savannah in their debut performance together. The history of the banjo in jazz dates back to the earliest ensembles of the 20th century in New Orleans, when banjo players were occasionally the star of the band. Over the next 100 years, however, the banjo changed within American musical culture, gradually falling out of favor as a primary instrument within a jazz band. In the spring of 2011, the Savannah Music Festival premiered a project featuring banjoist Bela Fleck with pianist Marcus Roberts and his trio. The results proved that the banjo has always been a wonderful solo instrument in jazz, particularly in the hands of a great improvisor like Bela Fleck. Tune in to hear Marcus Roberts on piano, Jason Marsalis on drums, Rodney Jordan on bass and Bela Fleck on banjo, live from Savannah in their debut performance.
Airs Thursday, December 6 at 8:00 p.m. Bassist Edgar Meyer and banjoist Bela Fleck had collaborated for nearly thirty years, but in 2008 when they formed a trio with tabla master Zakir Hussain, they created a small group in which each member offered up original compositions based upon their virtuosity and shared musical ideas. Tune in for part two of a 2011 Savannah Music Festival concert featuring Fleck, Meyer and Hussain live at the Lucas Theatre for the Arts.