Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Goat rodeo and a banjo player

While Mrs. S has had multiple opportunities to see the cellist Yo Yo Ma perform, until recently, I had not. But for our season ending concert at the Nashville Symphony, we were second row front and center for Yo Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer (second time to see him in two months), and Chris Thile, that is, three quarters of the Goat Rodeo, perform some Bach pieces. This was interesting and unusual for a couple of reasons.
Yo Yo Ma always looks like he is having a good time. Probably, because he is.
One was that performing in Nashville, they could have easily found a “fiddler” to fill out the quartet and perform the goat rodeo pieces. Another is, the pieces they performed were mostly not necessarily composed for trios. In fact, most of them that were announced were organ pieces that had been adapted for a trio. This of course glosses over the fact how you make a fugue work for a trio consisting of a cello, double bass, and mandolin. Second of all, I think Edgar Meyer is the only local, so even getting three fourths of the band there was no small feat. But it gets better.

This is about as casual as Edgar Meyer gets.
During the encore, they were actually joined by Stuart Duncan, who was either in the audience or was there to perform the encore. In the end, I felt a little cheated that we could have been listening to classical bluegrass and instead had to listen to Bach trios. Then again, I had a certain familiarity with the Bach pieces, so I appreciated them enough as it was.

The Goat Rodeo Team
But the real highlight might have been something else.

At intermission, we followed our customary “beer first, bathroom later” plan. As often happens, for some reason, the men’s seems to take a little longer, so even though Mrs. S was waiting for me when the five minute bell rang, I didn’t know she was already out. As I’m standing there waiting, Bela Fleck walked right by me and into the men’s room. So I’m waiting for Mrs. S and she finally shouts at me from upstairs, and I say, “It’s Bela Fleck!” and she goes, “That’s what I thought!” Just then Bela comes out, so we started to chat. We were dressed like brothers, and he seemed impressed that I even knew who he was. When I rattled off some concerts of his I’d been to while Mrs. S took pictures, he was kind of like, “Shouldn’t we be getting back to our seats?” and I was like, let’s walk and talk, and we did. Very personable friendly guy.

Brothers from other mothers: Bela Fleck in black T with jacket, me in black tee with jacket.
When we were leaving at the end of the concert, we walked right by him and the people he was there with, as he was waiting by the stage door to (I think) go backstage and hang with his musician friends. He greeted us again, and my brain fleetingly thought about pulling out one of my “Late to Jazz” business cards (which I always have with me for just such these purposes) and asking if he could get me backstage. But, I felt I’d imposed enough on the guy, so I merely bid him good night and we left.

I told the story to quite a few people, but unfortunately, Mr. Fleck is not as well known in my circle of acquaintances to make a decent impression, so I just have to share the story, and pictures, here with my late-to-jazzers.

I don't know, but they seem to be having a good time. I want to be a professional musician 
So there you go. Not a bad conclusion to another eventful concert season.