Fishman Artist // Béla FleckBéla Fleck is often considered the premiere banjo player in the world. A New York City native (named after composer Béla Bartok), he picked up the banjo at age 15 after being awed by the bluegrass playing of Flatt & Scruggs. He began experimenting with playing bebop on the banjo in high school. In 1982, he joined the progressive bluegrass band New Grass Revival, where he made a name for himself in the country-bluegrass world. At the same time he was releasing a series of solo albums for Rounder Records.
In 1989 he formed the Flecktones. They made their self-titled debut recording in 1990 by playing a "blu-bop" mix of jazz and bluegrass and soon became a commercially successful, critically-acclaimed and award-winning band. (Fleck--the only musician to be nominated for Grammys in jazz, bluegrass, pop, country, spoken word, Christian, composition and world music categories-- also recorded solo releases including 1994’s Tales from the Acoustic Planet and last year’s The Bluegrass Sessions--Tales from the Acoustic Planet Volume 2.)
Although the first Flecktones albums were created live-in-the-studio, the group went on to experiment with overdubs and guest artists on later albums, with contributions from artists as diverse as Chick Corea, Bruce Hornsby, Branford Marsalis, John Medeski, Andy Statman, the Alash Group and Dave Matthews. The Flecktones went on tour with Dave Matthews Band in 1996 and 1997, and Fleck is featured on several tracks on DMB's 1998 album "Before these Crowded Streets." In 2003, Béla Fleck & the Flecktones released the landmark three-disc set "Little Worlds" simultaneously with a highlights disc entitled Ten From Little Worlds.
In 2006 the band released The Hidden Land, which won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album in 2007.