Béla Fleck

Biography

Born: July 10, 1958; New York, NY  
Premiere banjo player Béla Fleck is considered one of the most innovative pickers in the world and has done much to demonstrate the versatility of his instrument, which he uses to play everything from traditional bluegrass to progressive jazz. He was named after composer Béla Bartok and was born in New York City. Around age 15, Fleck became fascinated with the banjo after hearing Flatt & Scruggs' "Ballad of Jed Clampett" and Weissberg & Mandell's Read more "Dueling Banjos," and his grandfather soon gave him one. While attending the High School of Music and Art in New York, Fleck worked on adapting bebop music for the banjo. Fleck always had diverse musical interests, and his own style was influenced by Tony Trischka, Earl Scruggs, Chick Corea, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, the Allman Brothers, Aretha Franklin, the Byrds, and Little Feat. After graduation, he joined the Tasty Licks, a group from Boston. They recorded two albums and dissolved in 1979. Afterwards, Fleck joined the Kentucky band Spectrum. That year, only five years after he took up the instrument, he made his solo recording debut with Crossing the Tracks, which the Readers' Poll in Frets magazine named Best Overall Album. In 1982, he joined New Grass Revival and stayed with them until the end of the decade. During this time, his reputation continued to grow and in 1990, Frets magazine added his name to their Hall of Greats. In 1988, one of his compositions, "Drive" (from the album New Grass Revival), was nominated for a Grammy. Fleck, mandolin player Sam Bush, fiddler Mark O'Connor, bassist Edgar Meyer, and dobro player Jerry Douglas teamed up in 1989 to form Strength in Numbers and record The Telluride Sessions. Late that year, Fleck was asked by PBS television to play on the upcoming Lonesome Pine Special; in response he gathered together a veritable "dream team" of musicians to form the Flecktones. The original members included Howard Levy, who played piano, harmonica, and ocarina, among other instruments; bass guitarist Victor Lemonte Wooten, and his brother Roy "Future Man" Wooten on the drumitar, an electronic drum shaped like a guitar. Though the special wasn't aired until 1992, the Flecktones recorded their eponymous debut album in 1990 and followed it up with Flight of the Cosmic Hippo (1991). In 1993, they released their fourth album, UFO Tofu, which featured music blending different genres ranging from bluegrass to R&B to worldbeat. In 1995, they released Tales From an Acoustic Planet; Left of Cool followed in 1998, and Tales From an Acoustic Planet 2: The Bluegrass Sessions was released a year later. Outbound followed in mid-2000. Busy and prolific, Fleck released an album of classical pieces, Perpetual Motion, in late 2001, Live at the Quick in 2002, the ambitous double-disc Little Worlds (and its truncated single disc version, Ten From Little Worlds) in 2003, and Music for Two (with bassist Edgar Meyer) in 2004. ~ Sandra Brennan Read less
Browse 1-9 of 9 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    The Impostor / Bela Fleck
    Label: Mercury   Catalog: 001871102 Release Date: 08/13/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Fleck
    Performer:  Béla Fleck
    Conductor:  Giancarlo Guerrero
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra,  Brooklyn Rider
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  • 2.
    The Melody Of Rhythm - Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer / Slatkin, Detroit So, Et Al
    Label: eOne   Catalog: 2024 Release Date: 08/25/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Fleck,  Zakir Hussain,  Edgar Meyer
    Performer:  Béla Fleck,  Zakir Hussain
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra
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  • 3.
    The Best Of Edgar Meyer / Ma, Bell, O'connor, Fleck, Et Al
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 713233 Release Date: 09/04/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edgar Meyer,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Traditional
    Performer:  Edgar Meyer,  Joshua Bell,  Mike Marshall,  Béla Fleck  ... 
    Conductor:  Hugh Wolff
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
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  • 4.
    The Essential Joshua Bell
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 707416 Release Date: 04/03/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Claude Debussy,  Karl Goldmark  ... 
    Performer:  Joshua Bell,  John T. Williams,  Frederic Chiu,  Simon Mulligan  ... 
    Conductor:  John T. Williams,  Michael Stern,  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  David Zinman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra of St. Luke's,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    Music For Two / Meyer, Fleck
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 92106 Release Date: 04/27/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Béla Fleck,  Edgar Meyer
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  • 6.
    Classics For A New Century
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 80019 Release Date: 06/10/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Sartori,  Antonio Carlos Jobim,  Steve Wood,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Marcelo Alvarez,  Salvatore Licitra,  Duetto-Exe Terra,  Yo-Yo Ma  ... 
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  • 7.
    Bela Fleck - Perpetual Motion
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 89610 Release Date: 10/02/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Béla Fleck,  Evelyn Glennie
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  • 8.
    Heartland - An Appalachian Anthology /Ma, Bell, Fleck, Et Al
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 89683 Release Date: 07/03/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mark O'Connor,  Traditional,  Edgar Meyer,  Stephen Foster
    Performer:  John Mock,  Russ Barenberg,  Mark Schatz,  John Jarvis  ... 
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  • 9.
    Uncommon Ritual / Meyer, Fleck, Marshall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62891 Release Date: 09/30/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mike Marshall,  Béla Fleck,  Edgar Meyer,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Mike Marshall,  Béla Fleck,  Edgar Meyer
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