Victor Wooten: bass master

POSTED AT 12:00 AM ON Apr. 28, 2005 


One of the great bassists in the history of music, Victor Wooten, never fails to impress with his live performances whether he is holding down the low end for Béla Fleck or leading his own band of friends and family. Last Thursday was no exception.

Much of the show was Wooten and his band paying homage to their musical influences. An early song was a tribute to all his favorite bass players. He would sing a line about Stanley Clarke or Jaco and follow it with one of their signature bass licks. Later the band played a pounding version of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" and went right into Jimi Hendrix's "Fire."

With such an array of talented musicians, the show was not a run-of-the-mill rock performance by any means. It was almost like a showcase of talent, with a good amount of time spent on solos. Jason Brown started things off with a beat box jam straight from his mouth and eventually went to his snare, which was attached to his body marching-band style. Wooten joined in toward the end and they traded beats back and forth.

Wooten's eldest brother Regi shattered the guitar next. When he played it was like watching a little kid messing around with a toy in his room, but the sound he produced was like a baroque opera played at warp speed. Like Mr. Miyagi and karate, Regi has mastered the guitar, not to mention he also plays bass and drums.

Afterward, Wooten took a seat as fellow bassist and rapper MC Divinity took to the stage, throwing down some tight bass lines and slap solos while simultaneously rapping incredibly intricate poetry. She was rocking hard until she broke a string.

Following a keyboard solo by Wooten's cousin, the drummer took the stage. His solo reached its pinnacle when Wooten snuck on stage and joined in, playing his bass like a percussion instrument.

Then the bass man himself took over. Using a loop pedal, he played three tracks of bass at one time and soloed over them, playing his bass with the ease and smoothness of Slash playing the "Sweet Child O Mine" guitar solo.

Wooten is one of the few upstanding musicians today. He shares his gift by posting music lessons online, he runs nonprofit bass/nature camps and he always stays after a show to shake hands and chat with the crowd. And like his brother, Victor Wooten is so good at what he does, he doesn't even need to show it. So he shares it with the world.


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