“What I needed,” replied banjo innovator when asked about the 1989 formation of Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, “were people that were kind of freaks. Each person had to be an equal or more, and that’s what made it work when I ran into these guys and we started playing together.”
The original lineup of the groundbreaking Béla Fleck & The Flecktones – Fleck with Howard Levy on piano and harmonica, percussionist / drumitarist Future Man and bassist Victor Wooten – have expanded their 30th Anniversary run, including December 4 at Town Hall in NYC.
In 1988, Béla formed the Flecktones for a single performance on PBS’ Lonesome Pine Special, and began touring in 1989. “The band was so fresh and powerful that we all wanted more of it,” says Victor, who describes the band as a family. “I think we gave other musicians the courage to be different.” With all manners of genres coming into play – from classical and jazz to bluegrass and African music to electric blues and Eastern European folk – this Grammy-winning quartet has created a sound all its own.
“The band is a creative idealistic project, one that somehow connects with people in a profound way,” says Béla. “Nothing about any of that has changed in 30 years. The Flecktones are touring for the sheer love of playing and celebrating our friendship. That’s why we get together these days.”