Evidently nobody told bassist Edgar Meyer and Nickel Creek mandolinist Chris Thile that a 2 1/4 -hour program featuring only those two specialized instruments simply can't work.
Sometimes, especially in music, it's better not to know what's supposed to be impossible.
Their performance Monday at Walt Disney Concert Hall should have, and probably would have, run out of steam at the 30-minute mark if they'd merely been playing the traditional bluegrass both musicians are grounded in.
But Meyer, 43, long one of Nashville's most respected and versatile studio musicians, and still boyish Thile, 23, took their wide-ranging stylistic interests and ran with them. That resulted in an unexpectedly diverse journey into largely uncharted territory perhaps best described as that of a chamber bluegrass jam band.
Meyer, in the role of sometimes exasperated mentor to Thile's supremely talented apprentice, explained to the near-capacity crowd that the two collaborated for a few weeks writing original material, much of it untitled. They supplemented it with other compositions or fragments "that didn't seem to have a home anywhere else."