Three’s a Charm

Mandolin, cello and bass would not be the first combination of instruments that springs to the minds of most for playing Johann Sebastian Bach’s trios, but it was on the minds of Chris Thile, Yo Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer for quite a while. These three titans of their respective axes have collaborated numerous times before in trios and duets. All three are infused with a deep love of music, and Bach holds a special place in their hearts as a kind of bedrock for their musical lives. That’s not uncommon among musicians of all stripes, but what is uncommon is what these three do when they get together to play JSB’s trios. Their UCSB Arts & Lectures concert at the Granada Theatre featured thrilling interplay, chops and playfulness, and there was evident joy as they wound their way through the tunes, making new the familiar and familiar the new (to some). Even the presentation was a sutble balance between casualness and formality and it was a surprisingly intimate concert given the size of the venue, thanks in part to entertaining narratives between numbers.