Following Where Creativity Leads August 4, 2021 New Flecktones display celebrates the legacy of a critically acclaimed, unconventional band By traditional music industry standards, a banjo, electronic drum synthesizer, bass guitar, harmonica, and piano don’t have much in common, but Béla Fleck and the Flecktones had other ideas. An exhibit showcasing a wide variety of the eclectic group’s instruments has recently been added to MIM’s Artist Gallery for guests to experience their genre-defying music. Over the past three decades, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones have transcended genre and expectations with their unusual instrumentation to earn numerous accolades, including multiple Grammy Awards. Original members Béla Fleck, Howard Levy, and brothers Victor and Roy “FutureMan” Wooten have captivated audiences with their innovative and ambitious music style since 1988 and continue to do so today. Whether borrowing from classical composition, breaking into bluegrass, exploring jam band-style improvisations, or winning prestigious awards in jazz, the group has always followed where creativity leads. The freedom and flexibility of their music has welcomed collaborations with talented artists across varied genres, such as jazz musicians Chick Corea and Branford Marsalis, bluegrass mandolinist Sam Bush, blues artist Bonnie Raitt, the Dave Matthews Band, and Phish. The museum is like a dream come true to all musicians, but it transcends just musicians—anyone can come here and get inspired. —Victor Wooten Fourteen-time Grammy winner Béla Fleck has repeatedly taken his instrument into uncharted territory and frequently plays a Deering Crossfire electric banjo customized with multiple pickups. Additionally, electric bass soloist Victor Wooten is sharing his iconic 1983 Fodera Monarch model electric bass with MIM. With visible wear, this well-loved instrument was significant in the development of Wooten’s reputation and innovative techniques, and he still refers to it as his “#1 bass.” Howard Levy’s multi-instrumental talent is represented by an assortment of stage-used instruments, including harmonicas, guiro, ocarina, penny whistle, jaw harp, and microphone. In 1997, Jeff Coffin brought a woodwind element to the group with his saxophones and flute, adding to the band’s eclectic nature for 14 years. His 1967 Mark VI soprano saxophone is on display. Influenced by African, Latin, and Indian hand percussion and the traditional drum kit, Roy “FutureMan” Wooten’s revolutionary electronic drum synthesizer, or SynthAxe Drumitar allows him to have dozens of sounds at his fingertips. Béla Fleck and the Flecktones add even more depth to the genres represented in the Artist Gallery. The group’s career and instruments are distinctive, as they continue to write their legacy today. Just as the band first caught the ears of the music industry in the 1980s and ’90s, the display is already grabbing guests’ attention with the Flecktones’ unusual sounds, unique style, and instrumental eccentricities. Albums from Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Victor Wooten, and Béla Fleck are available for purchase at the Museum Store or at theMIMstore.org. All purchases support MIM and its programs.