There are some who say that Bela Fleck is the world’s premier banjo player. Others claim that he virtually reinvented the image and the sound of the banjo through a remarkable performing and recording career that has taken him all over the musical map and on a range of solo projects and collaborations.
But essentially, Fleck just loves to play the banjo and put it into unique settings, becoming the most innovative picker around and demonstrating the remarkable versatility of the banjo.
As for his relatively unique first name, he was named after composer Bela Bartok. So his musical career likely was preordained at birth.
Fleck has won 16 Grammy Awards, including teaming with his wife Abigail Washburn to win a 2016 Grammy for Best Folk Album for their CD Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn.
He is best known for his work with the bands Bela Fleck & The Original Flecktones and New Grass Revival.
Rounding out the Flecktones is a splendidly talented ensemble of superstar bassist Victor Wooten, harmonica player/keyboardist Howard Levy and percussionist Roy “Futureman’ Wooten.
The band is celebrating 30 years of remarkable music and friendship.
Fleck also has had a myriad of other collaborations — duos with Washburn, Chick Corea and Chris Thile; in a trio with Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer; performing his concertos with symphonies; concerts with the Brooklyn Rider String Quartet; performances with African artists such as Oumou Sangare and Toumani Diabate; in jazz collaboration with The Marcus Roberts Trio; rare solo concerts and doing bluegrass with old friends.