Béla Fleck & the Flecktones

Greatest Hits of the 20th Century

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Whenever a group with the stature and critical reputation of Béla Fleck & the Flecktones issues a career-spanning collection, the quality of the work is not measured in the same way that an original album would be. The question isn't so much whether or not Béla Fleck & the Flecktones are talented musicians capable of producing worthwhile songs, but whether or not the editor of the collection has chosen wisely from their repertoire. On the satirically titled Greatest Hits of the 20th Century, someone has done a good job. In roughly chronological order (with the exception of the last song, "Sunset Road," from very early in the band's history), the collection presents a mixture of live and studio tracks and previously released and unreleased material, each song showing off a different facet of the band's style and abilities. There is the tight, funky quartet sounds of their first hit, "The Sinister Minister," the strong bluegrass influence on "The Yee-Haw Factor," the pleasant guest appearance by Dave Matthews on "Communication," and the sweetly minimal "Sunset Road." There isn't a dud in the bunch of this concise history of the Flecktones. An inventive blend of a world of influences, this collection offers an extremely pleasant listening experience.

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