Victor Wooten: remarkable Tennessee musician

Victor Wooten played Boulder last week and I was there. Victor is one of the most famous bass players in the world; he is the only person named by Bass Player Magazine as “bass player of the year” for three years. What he can do with a bass is unreal. He plays it like a guitar–on Thursday he was using a slide–and bass players from all over Colorado clustered at the front of the stage to steal his licks. Victor is generous with his talent. He conducts a bass camp every summer and sells videos demonstrating his technique. Several videos of him are on YouTube.

Most people know him as the bass player for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Bela’s group could almost be named “Bela Fleck and Wootens,” for joining Victor in the band is his older brother Roy, a drummer known in that group as “Futureman.” Victor and Roy are just two of the remarkable Wooten brothers: Regi, Roy, Rudy, Joseph, and Victor. When not touring with Bela and Roy, Victor takes to the road with Regi and Joseph plus other musicians, and that’s who played to a packed house in Boulder.

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They tore the place down! Victor Wooten plays a mixture of funk and jazz that can be heard on several CDs. I own Yin-Yang, Live in America, and Soul Circus. He combines aspects of Sly Stone, James Brown, and usually tours with a female singer as well.

When not touring with their little brother Victor, the The Wooten Brothers play every Wednesday night at Nashville’s 3rd and Lindsley Bar and Grill, a club at 818 3rd Ave. South in Nashville. The brothers in this case are Regi Wooten on guitar and vocals, Joseph Wooten on keyboards and vocals, and Rudy Wooten on saxophone and vocals. Three other guys make up the rest of the band.

Victor has written a novel, The Music Lesson: a Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music, and he announced at the concert that Penguin Books will bring it out in 2008.

The Wootens are a remarkable band of Tennessee brothers; I recommend seeing them in whatever combination you can. You will not be disappointed.

This blog is part of a much larger website, also entitled Tennessee Guy, that contains travel and cultural information about Tennessee. Visit it here.

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