Béla Fleck

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. Known best for his long association with the band The Flecktones, he has accompanied a huge number of other artists and won a vast number of Grammy Awards. No other artist can match the range of categories in which he has been honored; they include bluegrass, classical, country, jazz and pop. He has collaborated with dozens of acts on albums including Echo in the Valley with fellow banjo player and singer Abigail Washburn, which went to number one on the Billboard Bluegrass Albums Chart in 2017. Born in New York City, 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 formed his band Béla Fleck and the Flecktones the following year. He has recorded a series of albums with them, achieving commercial success and earning many Grammy Awards along the way. He has been a guest musician on albums by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Bruce Hornsby, The Dave Matthews Band, John Hartford, Rodney Crowell, McCoy Tyner and the Jerry Garcia Band. Béla Fleck has continued to collaborate with many musicians including Edgar Meyer (Music for Two), Chick Corea (The Enchantment, Two), Abigail Washburn (three albums), and others. In March 2020, he released the album The Ripple Effect, a collaboration with Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté. That same year, he was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame as a member of New Grass Revival. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” Bela Fleck recorded three variations of the composition for his 2024 album Rhapsody in Blue: “Rhapsody in Blue(grass),” “Rhapsody in Blue” (performed with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Eric Jacobson), and “Rhapsody in Blue(s),” which features Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, and Victor Wooten. The album also contains two further Gershwin compositions: “Rialto Ripples” and “Unidentified Piece for Banjo.”

Related Artists

Stations Featuring Béla Fleck

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.