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Banjo and jazz masters unite for unique concert

POSTED: November 8, 2012 1:30 a.m.

The UGA Performing Arts Center will present a unique musical experience when Béla Fleck, the world’s premier banjo player, joins forces with classic jazz traditionalists the Marcus Roberts Trio.

The concert is set for 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, in Hodgson Concert Hall. The evening will showcase selections from the musicians’ recently released album, "Across the Imaginary Divide."

At the 2010 Savannah Music Festival, Fleck sat in with jazz pianist Marcus Roberts for an impromptu jam session. The unlikely pairing caused a sensation and resulted in the new, critically acclaimed recording.

A native New Yorker, Fleck began playing the banjo at age 15 after being impressed by the bluegrass music of Flatt and Scruggs. In 1980, he released his first solo album, "Crossing the Tracks," with material that ranged from straight ahead bluegrass to Chick Corea’s "Spain."

In 1982, he joined the progressive bluegrass band New Grass Revival, and in 1989 he formed the genre-busting Flecktones. Boasting 14 Grammy Awards and 30 nominations, Fleck has been nominated in more different categories than anyone in Grammy history.

Roberts, who lost his sight at age 5, founded his trio in 1995. Led by Roberts on piano, the group also features Jason Marsalis on drums and Rodney Jordan on bass. The Trio is known for a virtuosic style that is strongly rhythmic, melodic, and filled with dynamic contrast.

Tickets are $20-$47 with discounts for UGA students and groups of 10 or more. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 706-542-4400 or toll free at 888-289-8497.

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