http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/03/arts/ ... .html?_r=1
There’s a distinction between traditionalism and conservatism, and it plays a central role on “Across the Imaginary Divide” (Rounder), the new album by the style-hopping banjoist Béla Fleck and the scrupulous jazz pianist Marcus Roberts. As the title suggests, it’s the seamless product of an unlikely pairing, though to call it bluegrass meets jazz would be misleading. Mr. Fleck, one of the world’s most accommodating virtuosos, functions here as a fourth member of Mr. Roberts’s trio with Rodney Jordan on bass and Jason Marsalis on drums. So the framework is firmly jazz, cooperative and swinging, neither showdown nor hoedown. (Sorry.) Notwithstanding some ersatz ragtime gentility and some rickety habanera rhythm, the music sounds disarmingly fresh. And if the banjo playing stands out as superb, it’s partly because of the flexible support of the trio, notably on a busily embroidered tune like “Petunia.” Even better is what happens a couple of minutes into the title track, when Mr. Fleck and Mr. Roberts create a sublime swirl of arpeggios. This album feels like the beginning of something. In any case, you’ll have the chance to witness it at the Blue Note (bluenote.net) from Tuesday through June 10.