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Béla Fleck And The Flecktones

Béla Fleck - born in New York City, New York on July 10, 1958 - is arguably the most famous and accomplished banjo player in the world. Béla Fleck was attracted to the banjo when he heard the title song of the 1960s TV show The Beverly Hillbillies played by Earl Scruggs. He learned to play in his teens and took lessons before moving to Boston where he made two albums with the Tasty Licks group. His first solo recording, Crossing the Tracks, came out in 1979 and he spent time with a group called Spectrum and the New Grass Revival, with whom he remained throughout the 1980s. He released his second solo album Drive in 1988 and, in order to film a performance on a PBS television show, he founded the Flecktones with Victor Wooten (bass), Roy ‘Future Man’ Wooten (drumitar), and Howard Levy (harmonica/keyboards). The band was an instant success and their first two albums - Béla Fleck and the Flecktones (1990) and Flight of the Cosmic Hippo (1991) - were nominated for the Best Jazz Instrumental Album Grammy Award. After the band’s 1992 album UFO Tofu, Howard Levy left the Flecktones and the group continued as a trio for the album Three Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1993). Five years later, the group returned as a quartet with the album Left of Cool (1998), which featured new member, saxophonist Jeff Coffin. The band continued to release critically successful albums and won several Grammy Awards along the way. In 2010, Jeff Coffin departed the band and original member Howard Levy returned to the fold. In 2011, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones released the album Rocket Science before announcing a hiatus. They reunited several times in 2016 and 2017 for concert tours.

©Copyright Music Story Stephen Schnee 2023


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