Corea & Fleck: A Dynamic Duo of Keys and Strings

Performances and Artists

It takes two to tango. If you take two masters of music, however, and put them together on one stage at The Smith Center, you have a “dance” that reaches a new level of performance.

That’s the dance of 22-time Grammy winner Chick Corea and 15-time Grammy winner Béla Fleck, who, with their own duo of keys and strings (featured in their album, Two) bring their captivating musicianship to Reynolds Hall on April 23.

It’s a unique pairing of piano and banjo, a pairing that in lesser hands would be a challenge, but…“With Béla, our duet is simpatico and comfortable,” said Corea. And that is the secret to great artistry, for a musician to be comfortable in his or her own skin and therefore be comfortable on stage with an equally talented artist. It’s not the combination of instruments that makes the magic, it’s the intangible blend of craft and confidence.

On tour after their first album, The Enchantment, the dynamic duo culled their most compelling performances from years of collaboration. The cuts, initially chosen by Fleck and ratified by Corea, became the basis of their new album, Two (released in late 2015).

Although the selection of material for the album was meticulous, spontaneity is the core of their live performances. “We love to be spontaneous,” said Fleck, though he admits that “This kind of improvisation that Chick does is a little outside of my wheelhouse….” At least it was in the beginning. The two have clearly meshed and each night is different. “There’s not much preparation that’s needed, and it’s my favorite way to perform, which is casually…” said Corea.

Casual, and spontaneous, but at a master level. Bela recognizes that each performance is special. “We’re going to make every night itself. Let every night have its own personality.”

That night will belong to those in attendance at The Smith Center. Now, it takes two to tango, so grab your partner and two seats for those keys and strings.

Two was a part of the 2015-2016 season.