group, founded in 1989 by Bela Fleck
, with Victor Wooten
on bass guitar
, Future Man
(aka Roy Wooten
) on synthaxe drumitar
, and Howard Levy
(the tall one) on piano
, and a host of other instruments, including the ocarina
Their debut album, which was self-titled, featured a jazzy pondering of the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" named "Reflections of Lucy". Their next two albums, "Flight of the Cosmic Hippo" and "UFO TOFU" featured similar songs, while paying tribute to such assorted artists as James Brown and Bonnie Raitt.
It was after the group's third album that Howard Levy decided to leave the group. They were starting to tour more extensively, and Howard didn't want to be away from his wife and family. There are no ill feelings between Howard and the rest of the band, and he often sits in on shows near his hometown.
With Howard gone, the Flecktones went on to record their fourth album, "Three Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest", this time with the help of such artists as Bruce Hornsby and Chick Corea. Without Howard Levy, they introduced a guest artist on nearly every track, and when touring, always brought guests with them. In addition to Bruce and Chick, they played with Branford Marsalis, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, and Jeff Coffin. Of all of these, Jeff and his soprano sax would be selected to become the new fourth Flecktone. He wouldn't replace Howard per se, but instead take the Flecktones' sound in a new direction.
Their next studio album, "Left of Cool," featured contributions from the likes of Dave Matthews and Amy Grant, and would prove to be their most popular endeavour yet, bringing their music to a more mainstream audience.
Since then, the Flecktones have done what they always do, tour and continue to innovate, while still paying tribute to the music that influenced them.