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The Fantastic Four . . . Flecktones
January 25, 2007
So I went through and did some research, and figured out a little timeline. Hopefully I got this all right, but from the looks of things this is how it went.
December 14, 1992
Howard Levy does his last full show as the Tall, Thin, Flecktone, truly a sad day for both the band and the fans. But luckily for us, it would not be the last time he showed up to help the Flecktones out on stage.
February 7, 1993 - December 14, 1996
This span of almost 4 years saw many, many people stepping in to fill Howard's space. No one in this time was meant to be a permanent part of the Flecktones, even though it would seem otherwise with the high number of dates some guys showed up at. Paul McC clocked in at well over 100 shows from '95 to '96. (With Sammy Bush throwing himself into well over 50) This was a very fun time for the fans. With a different 4th member (and sometimes 5th, 6th, and 7th member) every night, the shows were changing more than ever. Some great recordings came out of this era (and arguably the best album they've put out). But come late '96 they came upon someone who would change everything.
December 15, 1996
Jeff's First appearance with the band came on December 15, 1996. He did a show with them at the Caffe Milano in Nashville, TN (big surprise on the city as Jeff never stray's to far from Nashville when doing his solo stuff). But, only one show.
December 26, 1996 - December 31, 1996
After this show, Paul continued to sit in with the Flecktones for the rest of the year. I think there were only about 5-10 shows in the time between Jeff's first and second shows with the 'Tones. There may have been two or three Trio shows in early 1997, but I'm still looking into those.
January 30, 1997
In late January of '97, Bela seems to have guested on one of Jeff's shows. I'm assuming the Vibration Arts Ensemble, but I can't be too sure. This show took place on January 30, 1997 at the Owl's Nest in Nashville, TN. I'm sure this helped show Bela's interest in Jeff.
March 14, 1997 - March 29, 1997
Then at the beginning of '97, to no surprise, I'm sure, Jeff guested on a string of shows from March 14th to March 29, including a very well known show at the Berk's Jazz Festival with Bruce Hornsby, which is the earliest recording we have of Jeff with the band (3-23-97).
April 22, 1997 - April 26, 1997
After the March run of shows, Paul did a string of shows with the guys in Jeff's place, including the amazing string of performances at the Fox Theater in Boulder Colorado. Paul must have sensed this was going to be some of his last work with the 'Tones for a while as he gave it his all making it one of the best run of shows I believe the guys have ever put on. I assume Jeff had some prior commitments or he would have been around for these shows, but who's to say, and I know I can't say I'm disappointed that these shows were with Paul, they are a couple of my all time favorites.
April 29, 1997 - (somewhere around) April 30, 1998
This year long period (roughly) showed Jeff guesting on nearly every Flecktone show. He did miss a couple here in there, but no more than a handful. By this time I think everyone knew what was coming and I think to this day there isn't a single disappointed soul around. Sometime in late April of 1998 (or maybe early May), Jeff was made a full time member of the band and he's continued to grace us with his greatness for the last 9 years or so.
Also over the course of this year we started to see what would soon become a regular thing for these 4 guys. They started having a lot of solo side projects. Sure up until here they all had a few, but it was nothing compared to what we started to see in '97. 1997 saw a Vic & J.D. Blair tour, a (short) Bela & Tony Trischka tour, Bela doing some misc. dates with different groups of people, Edgar & Mike, Sam & Jerry, Jerry & Edgar, and several shows with Jerry alone. But it also saw Bela (and sometimes Victor) guesting on Jeff's shows several times. Thus showing these guys just can't stay away from each other. And starting what would only prove to be a great thing for us as fans. Where there is one Flecktone, don't be surprised to find another.
For some early Flecktones + Jeff Coffin check out the earliest recordings I've found:
March 23, 1997 (with Bruce Hornsby guesting as well)
April 29, 1997 (with Oteil Burbridge guesting as well)
May 2, 1997 (with John Medeski & Chris Wood guesting as well)
May 16, 1997 (Green Acres . . . nuff said)
And don't miss out on the Flecktone's last run with Paul McCandless, two great recordings have surface from this run:
April 22, 1997 and April 24, 1997 - Both at the Fox Theater in Boulder Colorado.
It was a lot of fun looking this stuff up, hope it helps you guys out with the Flecktone timeline.