Latin Conference & Awards

Bela Fleck Working On Classical Set

Although January is considered a month off for the hard touring Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, the group's leader is spending time working on his debut album for Sony Classical. The set, which Fleck

Although January is considered a month off for the hard touring Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, the group's leader is spending time working on his debut album for Sony Classical. The set, which Fleck is working on in his home studio, will find the banjo virtuoso delivering his interpretations of various classical pieces. The as-yet-untitled album was initiated while on tour last year, when Fleck began giving fans a taste of his classical leanings during his banjo solos. The finished product could be out this year, according to a spokesperson for the artist, although there is no specific date set for release. Fleck and his band released the jazz album, "Outbound," through Sony's Columbia label last year, the first under a multi-faceted new deal with the company. The album debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart last August and includes guest vocalists Shawn Colvin and Yes' Jon Anderson, King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew, and Medeski, Martin & Wood keyboardist John Medeski. Bela Fleck & the Flecktones were nominated for two Grammys earlier this week -- best contemporary jazz album for "Outbound," and best pop instrumental performance for the album track "Zona Mona." Fleck himself was also nominated along with Alison Brown in the best country instrumental performance category for the dueling banjo track "Leaving Cottondale," from Brown's Compass Records album "Fair Weather."