Béla Fleck, UFO-TOFU (1992)

Béla Fleck is often considered the premiere banjo player in the world. A New York City native (named after composer Béla Bartok), he picked up the banjo at age 15 after being awed by the bluegrass playing of Flatt & Scruggs. He began experimenting with playing bebop on the banjo in high school. In 1982, he joined the progressive bluegrass band New Grass Revival, where he made a name for himself in the country-bluegrass world. At the same time he was releasing a series of solo albums for Rounder Records.

In 1989 he formed the Flecktones. They made their self-titled debut recording in 1990 by playing a "blu-bop" mix of jazz and bluegrass. Béla and Flecktones, Victor Wooten on bass, Future Man on percussion/vocals and Synth-Axe Drumitar (his hybrid guitar/synth/drum machine invention) and saxophonist Jeff Coffin have since made numerous recordings, won two Grammy awards and become one of the most outstanding and original bands of their time. Fleck is the only musician to be nominated for Grammys in jazz, bluegrass, pop, country, spoken word, Christian, composition and world music categories.

"UFO TOFU was inspired by the amazing Baby Gramps. This song has at least three musical palindromes hidden within it. A palindrome is a word or phrase that is spelled the same way backward and forward (such as UFO TOFU). I used the same concept musically in this piece."
                                        -Béla Fleck


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