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Bela Fleck and The Flecktones - Flight of the Cosmic Hippo CD (album) cover

FLIGHT OF THE COSMIC HIPPO

Bela Fleck and The Flecktones

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.67 | 19 ratings

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aglasshouse
4 stars Anyone ever notice that the album cover for this album is just a wider shot of the band's debut cover? To say the least, it's better that they went with more as opposed to just re-using the same cover or something along those lines. You know, speaking of a zoom-out, that's what this album is- a wider picture of the talents and attributes of Flecktones thus far. Let's delve deeper.

The band's eloquently titled sophomoric album Flight of the Cosmic Hippo is yet another wonderful output from banjoist Bela Fleck and his pals The Flecktones. Seeing as I've reviewed their third album, UFO Tofu, in the past, I suppose it's fair to compare the two. A big conclusion we can make right off the bat is that this album is much more controlled than that of the Flecktones' later work. Eclecticism is at a low here, instead Flight has your more standard groovy jazz-bop, albeit with more ambiance and well-above-average musicianship. The band melds so well together when playing it's almost mesmerizing, especially during faster tracks like 'Blu-Bop'. They work as a cohesive unit, held together by the standards of jazz but occasionally breaking the mold to deliver zany bursts of imagination into an already colorful din. Fleck's banjo is of course on point, I expect nothing less from a man who can keep up with Beethoven and Mozart's work with ease. One of my favorite bassists of all time, Victor Wooten is intricate as ever, blasting out refined yet ever changing neo-classic jazz thumps without fail. Not without mention is his brother Roy Wooten with his one-of-a-kind "synthaxe drumitar", a cobbled-together piece of machinery that also happens to be the cornerstone of rock-ambiance combination, delivers an ever-present echo and feeling of the cosmos to each track.

Although haphazard at times The Flecktones' second album is a spectacular piece of art, and some of the most innovative music from the jazz-fusion circle. Highly recommended.

aglasshouse | 4/5 |

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