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Saturday, October 14, 2006

bela fleck and the fleckstones: the concept of Bluebop

BF002Béla Fleck and the Flecktones is a primarily instrumental group that draws equally on bluegrass, fusion and jazz, sometimes dubbed "blu-bop." The band formed in 1988, initially to perform once on the PBS series Lonesome Pine Specials. The Flecktones have toured extensively since then, often playing over 200 concerts per year.

Frontman Béla Fleck plays acoustic and electric banjos, mixing a bluegrass and folk sound into a modern improvisational style. Fleck has received Grammy nominations for performances in the jazz, bluegrass, pop, spoken word, contemporary Christian, gospel, classical, and country categories. To date, he is the only artist to receive nominations in as many diverse categories.

Brothers Victor Wooten and Roy "Future Man" Wooten form the rhythm section. Victor Wooten is widely lauded in jazz and bass-playing circles for his sometimes hyperkinetic slap and pop technique on bass guitar, and many consider him the leading bass virtuoso in music today. Future Man plays percussion using the one and only Synthaxe Drumitar, a MIDI controller shaped like a guitar.

Membership in The Flecktones is little changed since the band released its eponymous first album.BF001

Harmonica and keyboards player Howard Levy appeared on the Flecktones' first three albums. After Levy's departure, Fleck and the Wooten Brothers regrouped on the album Three Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the title a reference to the 1975 movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest based on Ken Kesey's novel. Saxophonist Jeff Coffin joined the band beginning with the album Left Of Cool.

The band has won several Grammy awards.

Each of the current members of the quartet has released at least one solo album.

BF003The band went on an amicable year-long hiatus throughout 2005, during which the individual members toured frequently in other configurations. The Flecktones are active and touring again in 2006.

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones - Flynn Theatre 2-18-99 Set 1

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