Pianist, harmonica player, music producer, and composer. He won a Grammy Award for his work with the pop band Béla Fleck and the Flecktones.
He briefly attended Northwestern University in Illinois and was a prominent member of the Chicago music scene of the 1970s and 1980s.
He directed a jazz and Latin band called Chévere de Chicago.
He was born into a Jewish family in New York City.
He frequently performed on radio host Garrison Keillor's popular Prairie Home Companion program.