Béla Fleck And The Flecktones

Howard Levy, Victor Wooten and Future Man

Label: Warner Brothers

the first Flecktones album.

While Strength and New Grass Revival were both active and thriving, I was up to my own solo mischief. I had met Howard Levy in Chicago when he sat in with Jethro Burns – who was opening up shows for New Grass at Holstein’s. Howard was a shockingly good harmonica player, who I later found out was equally incredible on piano. We really connected at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, where we stayed up all night jamming. When Victor Wooten called me up one day and played the bass over the phone for me, it was equally impressive. He came by and we had a thrilling first jam. Into the equation arrived an offer from Dick Van Kleek, who ran the Lonesome Pine Specials TV series up in Louisville. Having already had New Grass, and Strength in Numbers up to perform, he offered me a chance to head my own show, and let me put together a ‘dream band’ for it. I immediately thought of Howard and Victor. Victor told me about his unique brother, soon to be known as Future Man, and FM rounded out the ensemble with his forward thinking drum invention, sensitive musicianship and unusual concepts. After a surprisingly strong first gig – on TV, we decided to record; I self financed the recording. I thought it was time to make a break from Rounder, and attempt to get into the majors, as several of my friends already had. After making the recording, and hearing it back – I realized that I had come to a turning point in the road, and this this was a unique chance to play my new music, and step completely outside of the bluegrass world. The right musicians only fall into place once in a blue moon, and I knew this one one of those times. I gave something like 8 months notice to New Grass Revival, and Warner Brothers picked up the album. The die was cast.