Béla Fleck

Bela Anton Leos Fleck, born July 10, 1958, is an American banjo player. He is widely recognized as one of the most technically skilled and innovative banjo players in the world. His work with New Grass Revival, Bela Fleck, and the Flecktones are his best-known works. Fleck was born in New York City. He is named after Bela Bartok (Hungarian composer), Anton Webern (Austria), and Leos Janacek (Czech composer). When Earl Scruggs played the theme song for Beverly Hillbillies, Fleck was immediately drawn to the banjo. At the age of fifteen, he received his first banjo from his grandfather (1973). Fleck later enrolled at New York City’s High School of Music and Art, where he learned the French Horn. Tony Trischka was his banjo teacher. Fleck went to Boston shortly after graduating from high school to play the banjo with Pat Enright, Jack Tottle, and Mark Schatz of Tasty Lics. Fleck’s first solo album, Crossing the Tracks (1979), was released during this time. He also made his first attempt at progressive bluegrass compositions. Fleck performed on the streets in Boston with Mark Schatz, his bassist. Together with Glen Lawson, guitarist/vocalist, and Jimmy Gaudreau (mandolin great), they formed Spectrum: the Band in 1982. 1981 saw Fleck tour with Spectrum. Sam Bush also asked Fleck to join New Grass Revival that year. Fleck was a member of New Grass Revival nine years. Fleck also recorded Drive, a solo album during this period. The album was nominated in 1988 for the Grammy Award in “Best Bluegrass Album”, the first category. In the 1980s, Bush and Fleck performed together with Merle Watson and Doc Watson at various bluegrass festivals. Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten and Howard Levy formed Bela Fleck u0026 the Flecktones with Wooten’s brother Roy “Future Man”, a percussionist who used a synthesizer-based drum set. Levy left in 1992 and the group became a trio. In 1997, Jeff Coffin joined the band on stage. Their 1998 album Left of Cool was his first studio recording. Coffin left the band in 2008 to take over as Dave Mathews’ Band Saxophonist, LeRoi Moor. Howard Levy joined the Flecktones in 2009 Bela Fleck, along with the original Flecktones, went on to record Rocket Science and tour in 2011. Fleck and the Flecktones have been nominated and won many Grammy awards. Fleck also shared Grammy wins with Alison Brown and Edgar Meyer. Fleck has been nominated for more categories than any other musician: country, pop and jazz, bluegrass. classical. folk. spoken word. composition. Fleck recorded Perpetual Motion in 2001 with Edgar Meyer, a longtime friend and play-partner. It was an album of classical material performed on the banjo with a variety of accompanists including John Williams and Evelyn Glennie. You will find selections like Chopin’s Etude Op. 10 No. 10 No. Perpetual Motion was awarded two Grammys at 2002’s Grammy Awards for Best Classical Crossover album and Best Arrangement for Meyer and Fleck’s arrangement of Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum. Fleck and Meyer also composed a double concerto, for banjo/bass, which was performed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Fleck cites Chick Corea and Charlie Parker as his influences. He considers Scruggs to be “certainly” the best banjo player in the three-finger style. Fleck has performed solo and with the Flecktones at Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Merlefest, Montreal International Jazz Festival and Toronto Jazz Festival, Toronto Folk Festival, Newport Folk Festival and Austin City Limits Music Festival. He also appeared with the Flecktones at Jazzfest, Bonnaroo and Shakori Hills. Fleck has performed as a sideman for artists such as Ginger Baker, Phish, and Dave Matthews Band. The Dave Matthews Band’s fourth album, #41, was the longest single live song ever recorded. It ran 32:03 minutes. While the Flecktones were away, Fleck began a number of new projects in 2005. He recorded with African traditional musicians, co-wrote a documentary called Bring it Home, about the Flecktones first year off after 17 years, and their reunion; coproduced Song of the Traveling Daughter by Abigail Washburn, a young banjo player who fuses bluegrass and Chinese music; and formed the acoustic jazz supergroup Trio! Jean-Luc Ponty, Stanley Clarke and Fleck recorded an album together as the Sparrow Quartet, along with Casey Driessen, Ben Sollee and Abigail Washburn. Fleck and Chick Corea recorded an album called The Enchantment in late 2006. Corea also toured with Fleck throughout 2007. The two were asked to record a trio concerto as a follow-up of the Fleck/Meyer double concerto. They teamed up again with Zakir Hussain, an Indian tabla player. It was recorded and released on CD The Melody of Rhythm. They toured together again in 2009 and 2010. He performed with Toumani Dibate, a Mali kora player, at the Winnipeg Folk Festival in July 2007. Toumani Dibate will also be joining him at the 2009 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. Fleck has also performed with Cheick Hamala Diabate, a Malian ngoni (ancestor to the banjo). He performed charity concerts in Germany for AIDS awareness in December 2007. Grosse Halle Bern was the venue for his largest concert, which took place on December 1, 2007. He performed with The Bluegrass Allstars on June 13, 2008. They were bluegrass heavyweights Sam Bush and Luke Bulla as well as Bryan Sutton and Jerry Douglas, at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, Tennessee. Fleck was joined by Abigail Washburn, the Sparrow Quartet and performed at the festival the next day. An independent documentary about Fleck’s trip to Uganda, Tanzania and The Gambia was released in limited runs to select US cities in 2009. Fleck’s half-brother, Sascha Paladino directed “Throw Down Your Heart”. It was shot during Fleck’s year of being off-road with the Flecktones. Fleck performed his Concerto for Banjo with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra on September 22, 2011. From Wikipedia

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