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Bela Fleck and the Flecktones

Jingle All the Way – 2008 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones

If seeking a nice, quiet, familiar-sounding set of Christmas carols, then by all means avoid Bela Fleck & the Flecktones holiday CD. But if an adventurous spirit, with that same patiently expectant temperament you may have only experienced on those rare Christmases when you didn't poke, prod and shake your presents until you knew all wrapped contents long before Dec. 25, this new holiday effort may be the gift you least expected - but always wanted.

It's fairly common knowledge that Fleck plays the banjo like few others. He's just as likely to bend notes like a jazz guy, as go into a bluegrass breakdown. He incorporates each of these instrumental wrinkles on this new effort, and more. But Fleck also generously shares the stage with his talented band, which is most apparent during Linus and Lucy where Victor Wooten's bass work takes center stage. The whole group has fun with The Twelve Days of Christmas, however, where each day of Christmas takes on a different musical color. The band also gets its jazz swing in with Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. This CD simply shouts, 'Let's take familiar Christmas songs and have a little fun with them!'