The Best of Edgar Meyer – with Yo-Yo Ma, Mark O’Connor, Bela Fleck, Joshua Bell, Mike Marshall, St. Paul Chamber Orch./Hugh Wolff – Sony Classical

The Best of Edgar Meyer – with Yo-Yo Ma, Mark O’Connor, Bela Fleck, Joshua Bell, Mike Marshall, St. Paul Chamber Orch./Hugh Wolff – Sony Classical 88679-13233-2, 73:9 ****:

There’s no notes here about Edgar, and probably none needed since the most likely purchaser of this CD will already be familiar with the innovative cross-genre composer-performer who some refer to simply as the bass bassist alive.  He sails thru and combines radically different genres – from classical to bluegrass – as indicated by the list of guest performers above. My favorite combo Meyer has done is the one with banjoist Bela Fleck, detailed in their DualDisc Music for Two They arranged pieces of Bach and others, and of course some of their amazing duos for banjo and doublebass are on this compilation from the several Sony Classical CDs Meyer has done.

One of his major compositions was his Concerto in D for Doublebass and Orchestra, and its third movement is included on this disc. Speaking of Bach, two movements of the Bach Solo Cello Suite No. 5 are also included, in Mayer’s arrangement for doublebass. At another end of musical genres there’s also Meyer’s wild original Please Don’t Feed the Bear, on which he plays a host of other instruments in addition to his bass.  There’s no selection from his Bottesini concertos for bass CD; the slant seems more toward the Appalachian Waltz-type of folk-influenced collaborations. Perhaps it will move some who are new to this versatile bassist to pick up some of the CDs purloined for this compilation.

TrackList: The Green Groves of Erin/The Flowers of Red Hill, Sliding Down, Please Don’t Feed the Bear, Concert Duo Movement 1, Early Morning, Concerto Duo The Prequel, Uncommon Ritual, Pile-Up, Duet for Cello & Bass, SARASATE: Zigeunerweisen, By the River, MEYER: 3rd Movt. of Concerto in D for Double Bass, BACH: Prelude & Fugue from Suite for Solo Cello No. 5.

 – John Sunier

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