Victor Wooten
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Victor Wooten


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"Victor Wooten: The story of a legend"

Think about the most breathtaking, beautiful, and intense thing that you’ve ever heard or seen, multiply it by a million, and you’re still miles away from reaching the Victor Wooten world of music. What is there to say about this master of music? Let’s start with his accomplishments. Victor Wooten is the first bassist to receive the Bass Player of the Year award from Bass Player Magazine more than once (he received his third Bass Player of the Year award in 1998). Victor has won two Nashville Music Awards for Bassist of the Year, three Grammy awards with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Down Beat Magazine’s award for Talent Most Deserving Wider Recognition, and a Grammy nomination for his third solo album, Yin Yang. This man is no joke.

So what makes Victor Wooten so special? The only reason you could possibly ask a question like that is if you have never heard him play before. Victor has revolutionized the bass beyond what anyone could have expected. He has evolved the bass way ahead of it’s time. Imagine if Jimi Hendrix was around, doing what he was doing to revolutionize the guitar, but hundreds and hundreds of years ago. This is what Victor has done with the bass. Remember, the electric bass guitar has only been around for a little over fifty years. It is a very new instrument, and Victor has turned it from being primarily a rhythmic, background instrument, to a lead, melodic instrument. Not only has he done that, but he has also mastered the art of playing the bass as if he were a full band. His techniques of "thumbing and plucking" and tapping create an opportunity for him to play a percussion part, a rhythmic "bass line", and a melody or lead part all at the same time. Sound impossible? Well it is!! Yet Victor can do it. This man has achieved the impossible.

"So Victor is a great bass player, what’s the big deal?" you may ask. Well not only do I consider him the best bass player of all time, but I consider him the best musician of all time. There are many amazing players out there, and either they are great because they lay down great bass lines, or they are great because they have great chops. Most of the time, bass players with great chops and fast fingers don’t have a sense of good music, or good groove, they just want to play fast and create a lot of notes, which can be cool, but can get old. Victor not only has the greatest chops and fastest fingers, but he knows what to apply and when. The melody, groove, tone, and rhythm that he produces on his instrument are unexplainably amazing. Victor could record silence and make it sound good. His music is pretty much perfect.

I listened to Victor’s latest album recently. It is appropriately entitled Live in America and it is made up of various recordings of past tours in the USA. IT IS INCREDIBLE. It will literally get you on your feet and dancing. I enjoyed this album so much, that I started to wonder if I love this album only because of my knowledge of music. When I listen to the album, I listen to it as a musician, so I know the amount of talent coming from those performances. I decided to put it to the ultimate test. I gave the album to some people that don’t have a background in music to see if they would recognize the greatness of the music. The two people who heard the album could not stop listening to it. This proves my theory that Victor has not only the most astounding talent out there, but he can portray this to people that don’t even know the extent of his talent.

If you want to hear chops and crazy amounts of revolutionary talent, listen to my favorite Victor Wooten album, A Show of Hands. This album is only bass and vocals with no bass overdubs. It is truly beyond anything I have ever heard.

There is one thing that is more amazing and more exciting then hearing Victor Wooten, and that would be seeing Victor Wooten. I have many Victor from his live performance at Bass Day ‘98 to his studio work with Carter Beauford. I really became a huge Victor Wooten fan after watching the Bass Day ‘98 DVD. It blew me away. I had no idea that there was someone out there who could manipulate their instrument and their music the way he did in that DVD. I have now reached the point where I watch that DVD on a monthly basis. I watch it to remind myself to keep reaching for the goal of ultimate musicianship, which is what Victor has reached. His playing on the DVD is amazing, and to top it all off, he has a completely genuine, down to earth attitude. He talks a bit on that DVD about his technique among other things, and you can’t help but notice how... well, how nice he is. He’s just a great person, which makes me want to listen to his music even more, because I know it’s genuine and a great portrayal of who he is as a person.

In February 2004 I heard that Victor was going to be ending his tour in Tempe at the Marquee Theatre. I had my wife (who had heard that DVD a billion times) and one of my friends who plays bass come with me to - AZ Music Trader

"Sensation Strums Into Sunsation"

COPPER MOUNTAIN - Bassist Victor Wooten can play different notes so fast on his four-string that some of his band members used to think he had eight arms. But he really only has two arms.

Either way, Wooten is renowned for both his solo bass work as well as his work with Bela Fleck and The Flecktones.

He's fresh off sold out tours with the Flecktones and Bass Extremes in 2004, and thanks to his new solo CD "Soul Circus" - which he released Monday - he's devoting time to touring solo, including a stop at Copper Mountain's Sunsation Saturday.

The band's full lineup on the road in support of "Soul Circus" will include Victor Wooten on bass and vocals, Regi Wooten on guitar and vocals, Joseph Wooten on keyboards and vocals, Derico Watson on drums and vocals, J.D. Blair on drums and vocals, MC Divinity on bass and vocals and Saundra Williams on vocals.

Wooten is the youngest of four brothers, all of whom played various instruments and sang. Wooten hit the stage as the bassist for the Wooten Brothers Band at just 5 years old.

The Wootens played songs by rhythm-and-blues mainstays such as James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, War and Curtis Mayfield. The band recorded an album in 1985, but after little success, the brothers pursued their own projects.

In 1988, Wooten moved to Nashville to join a rock band and the following year met Bela Fleck, the banjo ace for New Grass Revival. Fleck was forming a jazz group to appear on a television show, so he recruited Wooten, his brother Roy on drums and Howard Levy on keyboards and the harmonica.

As the 1990s progressed, Wooten added a solo recording career and numerous collaborations to his duties in the Flecktones, along with solo albums such as 1996's "A Show of Hands," and 1997's "What Did He Say?" Two years later, he release his third solo album, "Yin-Yang," which featured appearances by Fleck, Bootsy Collins and the Wooten Brothers.

"Live in America" from 2001 documented four years on the road in a double-disc package. Wooten's newest album, "Soul Circus," boasts such guests as the Wooten brothers, Bootsy Collins, Arrested Development rapper and vocalist Speech, legendary harmonica player Howard Levy, drummer Dennis Chambers (Parliament & Funkadelic), Flecktone Jeff Coffin and a who's-who of bassists including Will Lee ("Late Show with David Letterman"), Rhonda Smith (Prince), acoustic bassist Christian McBride and many other special appearances.

Wooten has won a Grammy with the Flecktones, Bass Player Magazine's Bass Player of the Year a record three times, and Bassist of the Year at the Nashville Music Awards twice, yet he still has the desire to keep on touring. - Summitt Daily News (Lauren Slaughter)

"Bass Player"

"Victor Wooten struck the bass world with shattering impact." - Staff

"Scene Nashville"

"Among electric bassists, Victor Wooten currently stand at the head of the class." - Staff


Palmystery (April 1, 2008)
Soul Circus (2005)
Live In America (2001)
Yin Yang (1999)
What Did He Say? (1997)
Show of Hands (1996)



Victor Wooten redefines the word “musician.” Regarded as one of the most influential bassists since Jaco Pastorius, Wooten is known for his solo recordings and tours, and as a member of the GRAMMY-winning supergroup, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones. He is a brilliant technician and innovator on the bass guitar, as well as a talented composer, arranger, producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. But those gifts only begin to tell the tale of this Tennessee titan.

Wooten is the loving husband and devoted father of four; the youngest sibling of the amazing Wooten Brothers (Regi, Roy, Rudy and Joseph) and the bassist in their famed family band; a student of the martial arts and nature survival skills; and a teacher of hundreds of students at his camp.

Victor Lemonte Wooten embraced the musical life early, growing up on the West Coast in a military family in which his older brothers all played and sang. By age 3, he was learning bass riffs from his oldest brother Regi, and at age 5 he was performing professionally with the Wooten Brothers Band. “My parents and brothers were the foundation,” he recalls. “They prepared me for anything by teaching me to keep my mind open and learn to adapt.” While still on the West Coast, the band opened for high-profile acts of the ‘70s like Curtis Mayfield and War, and then headed east to eventually conquer new territory.

Victor was influenced by bass mentors Stanley Clarke, Larry Graham and Bootsy Collins, and at the same time learning about the music business at a wildly accelerated pace. By the early ’80s, after the family had already settled in Newport News, Virginia, the brothers became mainstays at Busch Gardens theme park in nearby Williamsburg, making numerous connections with musicians in Nashville and New York.

In 1988 he moved to Nashville, where he worked with singer Jonell Mosser and met New Grass Revival banjo ace Béla Fleck. A year later, Fleck assembled Victor, his brother Roy (a.k.a. Future Man) and harmonica-playing keyboardist Howard Levy to perform with him, and the Flecktones were born. After three highly successful albums, Levy left the Flecktones in 1993, and the band’s new trio format enabled Victor to develop and display a staggering array of fingerboard skills that turned him into a bass hero of Pastorian-proportions and helped earn the band their first GRAMMY Award.

With the Flecktones in full flight, Victor set his sights on a solo career, first forming Bass Extremes with fellow low-end lord Steve Bailey, and finally releasing his critically-acclaimed solo debut, A Show of Hands, in 1996. Soon after, Wooten took his solo show on the road with drummer J.D. Blair. The momentum escalated and the acclaim grew louder with each successive album – What Did He Say? in 1997, the GRAMMY-nominated Yin-Yang in 1999 and the two-disc Live In America in 2001 – and the rigorous touring that accompanied each release.

Wooten won two Nashville Music Awards for Bassist of the Year and is the only three-time winner of Bass Player magazine’s Bass Player of the Year award. With the honors came scores of session and sideman calls, leading to recordings and performances with artists like Branford Marsalis, Mike Stern, Bruce Hornsby, Chick Corea, Dave Matthews, Prince, Gov’t Mule, Susan Tedeschi, Vital Tech Tones (with Scott Henderson and Steve Smith), the Jaco Pastorius Word Of Mouth Big Band, and the soundtrack to the Disney film Country Bears.

After a four-year hiatus from solo recordings, Wooten released Soul Circus on the Vanguard label in 2005. The recording included a small army of guest players: the Wooten Brothers, Bootsy Collins, Arrested Development rapper/vocalist Speech, Howard Levy, Dennis Chambers, Saundra Williams, J.D. Blair, Derico Watson, Flecktone Jeff Coffin, and a who’s-who of bassists, including Steve Bailey, Oteil Burbridge, Will Lee, Rhonda Smith, Christian McBride, T.M. Stevens, Bill Dickens and Gary Grainger.

Wooten joins the Heads Up label in the spring of 2008 with the April 1 release of Palmystery, a twelve-track set that embraces a range of styles – jazz, funk, pop, soul, gospel, world music and more – and boasts a diverse guest list that includes Mike Stern, Richard Bona, Keb’ Mo’ and several others. The result is an amalgam of voices, styles and grooves, but one that never fails to hold together at its rock-solid core.

Simultaneous with the release of Palmystery, Berkley Trade Paperback (The Penguin Group USA) will release Wooten’s debut novel, The Music Lesson, the story of a struggling young musician who is unexpectedly visited by a mysterious, seemingly mystic music teacher who guides him through a spiritual journey of higher education in both music and life.

Whether his medium is music or the written word, Wooten sees the creative process in the context of the eternal question about whether a tree falling in a forest really makes a sound if there’s no one there to hear it. “A song is just an idea until someone br