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Edgar Meyer: A bassist beyond bluegrass

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By Sarah Gianelli EBS Associate Editor

BIG SKY – Many people equate the name Edgar Meyer with bluegrass virtuosity, but the upright bassist’s performing and composing career has taken him far beyond circles of pickers and banjos into some of the most prestigious concert halls in the world.

On Saturday, March 3, Meyers will showcase his chamber music chops in a solo double-bass recital at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center. The program, which begins at 7:30 p.m., will include original compositions by Meyer, as well as a Bach Cello Suite arranged for his instrument.

A versatile multi-instrumentalist and composer, Meyer’s musical styles encompass classical, folk, bluegrass, newgrass and jazz. He has worked as a session musician in Nashville, been a member of various chamber groups, and has a prolific recording history.

In 2006, he released a self-titled solo recording on which he wrote and recorded all of the music, incorporating piano, guitar, mandolin, dobro, banjo, gamba, and double bass. In 2007, recognizing his wide-ranging recording achievements, Sony/BMG released a compilation album, “The Best of Edgar Meyer.”

In 2011, Meyer joined cellist Yo-Yo Ma, mandolinist Chris Thile, and fiddler Stuart Duncan to record “The Goat Rodeo Sessions” which was awarded the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Folk Album.

The broad spectrum of musicians he has collaborated with also includes Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Jerry Douglas, Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain, Sam Bush, James Taylor, Mike Marshall, Mark O’Connor, Alison Krauss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Guy Clark, and Nickel Creek.

Hailed by The New Yorker as “…the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively un-chronicled history of his instrument,” Meyer’s musicianship has earned him an equally vast and varied audience, a cross-section of which likely comprise the WMPAC audience.

“As far as I can tell, Edgar Meyer is the most accomplished double bass player on the planet,” said WMPAC Executive Director John Zirkle, adding that he likes to wind down the winter season with a solo act that showcases an area of the performing arts that might get overlooked.

“The double bass is a fascinating and often overlooked instrument in both the folk and classical traditions, and to get to know this instrument through the lens of Edgar Meyer’s incredible playing is an experience not to be missed by any type of music lover in Montana.”

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