Yesterday, my playlist featured a touch of bluegrass. Today, it features another guy who plays a bit of bluegrass … and progressive jazz … and rock … and Celtic … and classical … oh, and did I mention yet that he does a lot of it on a synthesized banjo, as well as a traditional banjo?
His name is Bela Fleck. He’s had a group called the Flecktones, which features a beast on the bass in Victor Wooten and a guy on the “drumitar” (an electronic percussion instrument shaped like a guitar) who calls himself “Future Man” (real name Roy Wooten, Victor’s brother) who can do some amazing things with a unique instrument.
For a look at just how diverse Bela Fleck and the Flecktones’ music can be, just one look at the credits of their live album “Live Art” can give quite an example. There are great jazz and rock names like Branford Marsalis on saxophone, Chick Corea and Bruce Hornsby playing on keyboards, bluegrass dynamos like Sam Bush and Edgar Meyer and Jerry Douglas, and songs ranging from covers of The Beatles’ “Oh, Darlin'” to a taste of “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” and original Fleck tunes throughout. The instruments featured include mandolin and steel drums. It goes beyond bluegrass and jazz and rock and American classical and Celtic music. It gets down to “world music.” It’s basically “kitchen sink music,” as in “everything but the kitchen sink” gets thrown in, and sometimes you just might actually hear the kitchen sink too.
But that’s just one album from Bela and the Flecktones. They have many of them together, and Bela Fleck alone has a resume beyond the Flecktones that’s wide and diverse. And the best way to appreciate the music is to watch and listen to it being played.
- My music playlist for today (January 26, 2012 edition) (viewfrommiddleclass.wordpress.com)
- Béla Fleck and The Flecktones – Groundbreaking (anymusic.wordpress.com)
- Victor Wooten (b4barcus.wordpress.com)