From Academic Kids

Béla Fleck (born July 10, 1958 in New York City, New York) is an American banjo player. He is most well known for his work with the band Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, which he has described as "a mixture of acoustic and electronic music with a lot of roots in folk and bluegrass as well as funk and jazz." [1]

Fleck was drawn to the banjo when he first heard Earl Scruggs play the theme song for the television show Beverly Hillbillies. He received his first banjo at age fifteen from his Grandfather (1973).[1],[2] Later, Fleck would enroll in New York City's, High School of Music and Art where he would study French Horn. Almost immediately after high school, Fleck traveled to Boston to play with Jack Tottle and Mark Schatz in Tasty Licks. It is with Tasty Licks that Fleck would play on his first major album. During this period, Fleck would release his first solo album (1979): Crossing the Tracks. It was Fleck's first foray into progressive-bluegrass composition.[5]

Fleck would play on the streets of Boston with bassist Mark Schatz until the two formed Spectrum: the Band in 1981. Fleck toured with Spectrum until 1981. That year, Fleck was also asked by Sam Bush and company to join New Grass Revival. Fleck performed with New Grass Revival for nine years. During this time, Fleck recorded another solo album, "Drive." It would be nominated for a Grammy in the then first-time category of Best Bluegrass Album (1988).
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Bela Fleck & Victor Wooten


After a 1988 phone call with bassist Victor Wooten, Fleck and Wooten formed Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, rounded out with harmonica player Howard Levy and Wooten's percussionist brother Roy "Future Man" Wooten, who plays synthesizer-based percussion. Saxophonist Jeff Coffin joined the group with the album Left of Cool.

With the Flecktones, Fleck has been nominated for and won several Grammy awards. Fleck has shared Grammy wins with Asleep at the Wheel, Alison Brown, and Edgar Meyer. He has been nominated in more categories than any other musician including country, pop, jazz, bluegrass, classical, folk, and spoken word, as well as composition and arranging.

In 2000, Fleck collaborated with long-time friend and playing-partner Edgar Meyer to record an album of classical material played on the banjo along with an assortment of accompanists, including John Williams, Evelyn Glennie, Joshua Bell and Gary Hoffman. Perpetual Motion won two Grammy's in 2000 for Best Classical Crossover Album and Best Arrangement for Fleck and Meyer's arrangement of Doctor Ad Grassus Parnum by Debussy. Fleck and Meyer have also composed a Banjo Concerto that has been played numerous times with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.

Fleck names Chick Corea, Charlie Parker, and the afore-mentioned Earl Scruggs as influences. He regards Scruggs as "certainly the best" banjo player of the three-finger style. [1]

Solo and with the Flecktones, Fleck has appeared at Telluride Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Toronto Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival, among others.


Grammy Awards

  • 1995
  • 1996
    • Best Pop Instrumental Performance, "The Sinister Minister" (track) by Béla Fleck and the Flecktones
  • 1998
    • Best Instrumental Composition, "Almost 12" (track) by Béla Fleck, Future Man, and Victor Lemonte Wooten
  • 2000
  • 2001
    • Best Instrumental Arrangement, 'Claude Debussy "Doctor Gradus Ad Parnassum" from Children's Corner' Béla Fleck and Edgar Meyer (Béla Fleck with Joshua Bell and Gary Hoffmann).
    • Best Classical Crossover Album, Perpetual Motion, with Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer, and others

Grammy Nominations

  • 1986
  • 1987
  • 1988
    • Best Bluegrass Album, "Drive", by Béla Fleck
  • 1989
  • 1990
  • 1991
  • 1992
  • 1994
    • Best Spoken Word for Children, "The Creation", by Amy Grant with Béla Fleck
  • 1995
    • Best Country Instrumental, "Cheeseballs in Cowtown", by Béla Fleck
  • 1996
    • Best World Music Album, "Tabula Rasa", by Béla Fleck et al
  • 1998
  • 1999
    • Best Bluegrass Album, "Tales from the Acoustic Planet: Volume 2: the Bluegrass Sessions", by Béla Fleck
  • 2000
  • 2002
    • Best Country Instrumental Performance, "Bear Mountain Hop", from The Country Bears Soundtrack (with Bela Fleck)



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