At this performance, part of Cal Performances’ Gala at the Greek II, he effortlessly filled the amphitheatre with astonishingly complex, extended runs that in some ways felt out of the realm of what the mandolin was ever designed to produce.
A jazzy, groovy tune with heavy bowed flourishes from Ma and Meyer as well as percussive hits from Thile, “Quarter Chicken Dark” not only infectiously incited the crowd into rhythmic motion, but provided a stark stylistic contrast to the light airiness and even meter of the preceding pieces.
It was a closing that reminded everyone present of the ease with which these three musicians so often jump genre — or perhaps are even transcendent to genre entirely — in their deep understanding of the way music is constructed and performed.
Chris Thile steps to the mic as the host of Live from Here (formerly A Prairie Home Companion), a live public radio variety show.
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Thile, Ma and Meyer are widely recognized as being among the best in the world at their respective crafts, but together on the same stage on Sunday evening, under the umbrella of Bach’s highly technical works, each had the opportunity to demonstrate the veracity of those claims.