Bassist Edgar Meyer, who's long been fascinated with his instrument's ability to imitate the human voice, has drawn renewed attention to the least appreciated member in the traditonal orchestral string hierarchy. It helps too that the 34-year-old multifaceted soloist and composer--who teaches at Vanderbilt and was recently named a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center--doesn't limit himself to classical idioms and can just as readily jam with jazz and bluegrass musicians. A true crossover phenom, he's collaborated with James Taylor, Garth Brooks, the Indigo Girls, Travis Tritt, and the Guarneri Quartet. His own compositions reflect a wildly eclectic taste, especially 1985's Amalgamations for solo bass, which he'll trot out at this joint recital with the highly regarded Emerson Quartet. Also on the program is the debut of a quintet Meyer tailored to his versatility and the Emerson's spectacular sound. The first movement is said to be a cross between a classical form (theme and variations) and a Renaissance one (variations on a ground bass). The Emerson, justifiably described as a successor to the legendary Juilliard, will strut its own stuff in Debussy's Quartet in G Minor, and its cellist, David Finckel, a noted soloist in his own right, will partner Meyer in the seldom-heard Duo for Cello and Double Bass by Rossini, an ingeniously designed work. Saturday, 8 PM, Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport; 722-5463.