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Béla Fleck Biography

Béla Fleck Biography

Béla Fleck (born July 10, 1958 in New York City, New York) is an American virtuoso banjo player. He is best known for his work with the band Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, with bassist Victor Wooten, saxophonist Jeff Coffin, and percussionist Future Man. Béla Anton Leoš Fleck, who is named after famous Hungarian composer Béla Bartók and Czech composers Antonín Dvořák and Leoš Janáček, 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). He was a member of the class of 1976 at P.S. 75 (the Emily Dickinson School) in Manhattan. Later, Fleck enrolled in New York City's High School of Music and Art where he studied the French horn, though he couldn't make a sound on it. He was a banjo student under Tony Trischka. Almost immediately after high school, Fleck traveled to Boston to play with Jack Tottle and Mark Schatz in Tasty Licks. During this period, Fleck released his first solo album (1979): Crossing the Tracks and made his first foray into progressive-bluegrass composition. Fleck played on the streets of Boston with bassist Mark Schatz; and the two formed Spectrum: the Band in 1981. Fleck toured with Spectrum until 1981. That year, Sam Bush asked Fleck to join New Grass Revival. Fleck performed with New Grass Revival for nine years. During this time, Fleck recorded another solo album, Drive. It was nominated for a Grammy Award in the then first-time category of Best Bluegrass Album (1988).

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