UFO TOFU – Bela Fleck & the Flecktones

third Flecktones album

(the last with Howard Levy)
Label: Warner Brothers

I wrote a tune on a bus in Europe, and showed it to the guys. In those days if we had a couple of days off, we’d find a place to set up and practice. So knowing we had a day off coming, I was looking for something challenging to throw into the guy’s greedy creative maws. We were all way into Baby Gramps’ song ‘Palindromes, Palindromes, where do you roam’, which Howard turned us on to. The song had some amazing long palindromes that went way beyond the perennials like ‘Live Evil’, UFO TOFU, or even ‘Eva, can I stab bats in a cave?’. I strongly recommend that you check this song out. After I played Gramps for Chick Corea, he remarked that if he could sing, he’d want to sing like Baby Gramps. Anyway, I wondered what it might be like to take a long complicated musical line and play it forward and backwards – a musical palindrome. The guys were into the idea, and we planted several palindromes in the piece. One was a simple riff, played in both directions. One was the actual form of the piece, where the order of the sections was a palindrome too. And one was a minute long tongue twister of a line that was very challenging to play. We enjoyed that sort of thing.