Global Bass Online                                                                      August/September  2001

Home Up Outline Aug. 2001 Search Classifieds Discuss this issue

News & Special Additions


Global Bass Station
Global Bass Search
Global Bass Archives
Advertise on GB


(Reprinted with permission)

"Wooten has done more than anyone since the late Jaco Pastorious to redefine the possibilities on the electric bass."
UPI (United Press International)

Victor Wooten is one of the most recognized and celebrated electric bassists of all time.  His secret seems to lie in doing his own thing, breaking boundaries and defying categorization along the way.  Chip Stern wrote in Musician Magazine that Wooten is "proof that all men are not created equal."  To this Wooten says, "A lot of guys who have been around for a long time are shocked when they see some of the things I am doing. Fortunately, they like it."

Wooten's performances as a member of the Grammy-award winning  Béla Fleck and the Flecktones have gained him the adoration of bass players and music fans worldwide.  His album Yin Yang was nominated for the Best Contemporary Jazz Album Grammy award and he was awarded a 1999 Nashville Music Award for Bassist of the Year (his second).  In 1998 he received his third Bass Player of the Year award from Bass Player Magazine (the only bassist to have received this award more than once) and was named one of the Top 10 Bass Innovators of the '90s by the same publication.  Also in 1998, Wooten won his second Grammy (Best Instrumental Composition for Almost 12 from The Flecktones album Left of Cool) and  Down Beat magazine voted him Talent Most Deserving Wider Recognition.  It was a very good year.

Live in America, Wooten's fourth solo album, marks the first time that his explosive live show has been captured on cd.  Guests on the album include band members Regi Wooten, Joseph Wooten, JD Blair (Shania Twain) and MC Divinity as well as special guests Marcus Miller, Michael Kott and Bootsy Collins.  Among the album's 18 tracks are new versions of songs from Wooten's 3 previous studio albums as well as several new songs written on the road including the part gorgeous and part funky Wooten composition Sacred Silence/Jam Man.  Other stand out tracks include an extended jam with fellow bass monster Marcus Miller on Miller Time , a spoken word band introduction offered up by Bootsy Collins and Tappin and Thumpin a rare recorded feature for guitar shredmaster and Wooten brother Regi Wooten again shows why he is considered a master of the electric bass. 

After years of touring with the Flecktones and as a solo artist, Wooten's live performances have garnered praise from critics and fans worldwide and have brought an enjoyment to him as an artist that continues to grow with each passing year.  Wooten explains "We are a very lucky group of people. We know this and we try not to take it for granted. Traveling around the world playing music is a wonderful thing and it produces many wonderful moments. Many of these moments are on this CD: my first time on stage with Marcus Miller, the intro that Bootsy recorded especially for us, MC Divinty & Anthony Wellington on their first tours, and the night that I improvised a second verse on "Good People" because I had neglected to write one, and which the guys wouldn't let me erase for this CD.  I had just written the song on the airplane ride the day before."

Wooten himself would be the first to tell you how his solo work is influenced by those around him.  "My brothers and parents were the foundation," he says.  "They prepared me for just about anything by teaching me to keep my mind open and to learn to adapt.  Musically, that means not being rigid and not having to play in a certain way."  Wooten grew up in a military family, the youngest of five brothers.  His brothers all played and sang, and by the time Wooten was 3, oldest brother Regi was teaching him to play bass. Wooten credits his open-mindedness about music to this early start. "When you're older, you're more hesitant to try something because you're afraid it will look wrong or come out wrong. When you're a child it doesn't matter. We'd try anything. We'd do anything we could think of to try and duplicate the sounds we heard on records.  I'd learn songs one note at a time by listening to records on the player, moving the needle back and then listening to it again. Playing the bass was like learning how to talk for me. It was just another language I was picking up."

Wooten made his professional stage debut at age five with The Wooten Brothers Band, the five-brother band that started out playing covers and later opened concert tours for Curtis Mayfield and War.  They also spent several years playing music and honing their skills at Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia.  This experience provided him with a valuable training ground and a vehicle for his musical development.  In 1988, Wooten moved to Nashville and was immediately recruited by blues and soul singer Jonell Mosser.  The following year he joined New Grass Revival's banjo ace Bela Fleck, who hired him and his brother, known as Future Man, to play in a jazz band for a Lonesome Pine Special TV show.  The two brothers became the rhythm section and with Howard Levy on keyboards and harmonica The Flecktones were born.

In 1996 Wooten released A Show Of Hands, his groundbreaking solo debut on Compass Records.  With no band and no overdubs, he revealed outstanding technical brilliance as well as a remarkable gift for creating uniquely musical compositions from only the strings of his electric bass.   Critic J.D. Considine called the debut "an amazing and stereotype-shattering album"; eminent jazz critic Vic Garbarini wrote, "(Wooten's) compositions are conceptually breathtaking as well as technically beyond anything you've ever heard on an electric stringed instrument...Victor Wooten is truly the Bach of the bass."  The album earned Wooten international recognition as well as the Record of the Year Award in Bass Player Magazine's 1996 Readers Poll and the Gibson Guitar Award for Best Male Bassist of 1996.  Rave reviews and features in Musician, JazzTimes, Playboy and Bass Player culminated in an appearance on BET's Jazz Central.

On his second solo outing What Did He Say?(1997), Wooten expanded his musical palette to include special guests Paul McCandless, Béla Fleck, Rod McGaha, Davy Spillane and drummer JD Blair.  The album became a family affair when The Wooten Brothers and Wooten's parents joined him in the studio.  Again, he received rave reviews from the critics including Down Beat (5 Star Review), USA Today (which described the music as "infectious")  and The Washington Post which asked, "What can't he play?"  What Did He Say? was also awarded a 1998 Nashville Music Award for Rhythm and Blues Album of the Year.  In 1997 and 1998, Wooten began using his down time from The Flecktones to tour as a solo artist, often performing as a duo with drummer J.D. Blair to packed houses of fans mesmerized by the pair's musicality and virtuosity.
Wooten has earned international recognition as a member of the Flecktones and has furthered his reputation as the greatest bassist of our time with his 3 critically acclaimed solo releases.   Live in America is certain to excite those who have already discovered his incredible talent and to bring those who have not into the loop because just as the Washington Post said, "What can't he play?"  Wooten currently resides in Nashville when he's not out touring with The Flecktones or performing as a solo artist.  In addition to his tour dates, he maintains a busy schedule of bass workshops, clinics and master classes.

--Shari Lacy - Director of Publicity
Compass Records
916 19th Avenue South, Nashville, TN, 37212
615-320-7672 phone

`When you lose wealth, you lose much. When you lose a friend, you lose more. But when you lose hope, you lose everything.'





Home ] Up ]

Copyright © 2000-2009 Global Bass Online
Last modified: June 16, 2009