Marcus Roberts Trio and Béla Fleck to Launch North American Tour
The Marcus Roberts Trio is hitting the road with Béla Fleck on May 23 for the first leg of a 26-date North American tour. Once again, the bandstand has proven itself to be an effective matchmaker.
“Béla and my group were both playing the Savannah Music Festival back in 2009,” Roberts said. “There was a jam session on the last night. My group was up there, and he just came up and played with us.
“A lot of soul: That’s what I remember about his playing,” Roberts continued from his home in Tallahassee, Fla. “Also, he has a remarkable command of his instrument. He’s got virtuosity but not without substance.”
Roberts kept in touch with the eclectic banjoist, who, in addition to leading his own group, the Flecktones, has collaborated with keyboardist Chick Corea, tabla player Zakir Hussain and double bassist Edgar Meyer. The quartet, which includes Roberts’ bassist, Rodney Jordan, and longtime drummer Jason Marsalis, played the Savannah Music Festival together in 2011 and recorded an album that Roberts and Fleck co-produced.
Across The Imaginary Divide will be released on June 5 by Rounder and features six originals apiece by Fleck and Roberts. “The range is most attractive to me,” Roberts said. “I wrote with Béla in mind. I wanted to celebrate his virtuosity and also introduce it to our trio concept. His [compositions] have a bluegrass sound but are not limited to that. It’s fascinating how much ground we cover.”