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Banjo trailblazer Béla Fleck has done it all: he spun refined solos and spawned a generation of “newgrassers” as a member of New Grass Revival, penned the first-ever Banjo Concerto, and won a GRAMMY in the World Music category for his 2010 exploration of African roots music. In fact, he has won a staggering 16 GRAMMYs, and has been nominated in more categories than any other artist in history. But perhaps his greatest achievement has been BÉLA FLECK & THE FLECKTONES, the legendary jazz fusionists who create “an unclassifiable meld of jazz, progressive bluegrass, rock, classical, funk, and world music.” (AllMusic)
The Flecktones earned a devoted following in the jam scene, with on-stage musical explorations that resonated with Deadheads and bluegrassers alike. Critic Geoffrey Himes wrote of their self-titled record, “Fleck’s banjo-playing takes the quartet on wide tangents through the outer space of jazz improvisation and minimalist composition, but he always brings them back to the traditions of rural America.” Brothers Victor and Roy Wooten (a.k.a. Futureman) constitute the band’s dizzying rhythm section, virtuosic to the point of spiritualized. The “ceaselessly clever and scarily talented” (New Yorker) chanteuse NELLIE McKAY opens the night, a pianist-songwriter who doubles as a stand-up comedian and Broadway star.