Béla Fleck

Banjo

Ben Folds

Appears on: As We Speak: Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer, featuring Rakesh Chaurasia

Few musicians in any category seem as uncategorizable as Béla Fleck. After initially making his mark with the progressive bluegrass group New Grass Revival, Fleck proceeded to take his instrument, as New York Times critic Jon Pareles noted, "to some very unlikely places." He formed the Flecktones, a groundbreaking group whose repertoire ranged from fusion to Bach; the group celebrates its 46th anniversary this year. In addition, he has played jazz with Chick Corea, American roots with his partner, banjoist Abigail Washburn, written concertos for banjo and orchestra, and created a documentary film and album, Throw Down Your Heart, that examined the banjo's African roots. Along the way, he has won 16 Grammys across 10 categories.