Victor Wooten Utilizes Time Off From Flecktones to Wrap Up Two-Disc Album

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:: Boulder Theater :: July 12 ::
:: Aggie Theatre :: July 13 ::
:: Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom : July 14 ::

By Joe Kovack

Victor Wooten is a man with many hats. A bass maestro, founding member of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, a five-time Grammy winner, and curator of a camp for aspiring musicians, just to name a few.

Since picking up the bass at age three to play with his brothers in the family band, Wooten formed an attachment with the bass that would lead to a lifetime of accomplishments. His signature style came from learning to play different genres of music that were on the radio in the ’60s, and with the constant support of his parents, who provided him with many musical opportunities. It would lead to a career of reinventing the perception of the bass and bringing the instrument to the forefront of the musical consciousness.

Wooten’s career is forever evolving and continuing to take the next step. His latest two-disc record, titled Words & Tones and Sword & Stone, will be out this September. The discs are complimentary, the former having an all-female vocalist ensemble and the latter being the all-instrumental version of the first. Wooten, speaking from his recording studio, where the new album is being mastered, explained to The Marquee in a recent interview the direction for this new venture and how it is working on the first leg of this summer tour.

“It’s still new and fresh to us; it’s a brand new band playing all new music with a new concept. All the musicians are playing at least two instruments, even the vocalists,” Wooten said. “It happened when I was teaching at camp one summer and one of my bass instructors picked up a trumpet and started playing. It started me thinking that what if we all picked up the instruments we used to play when we were younger. So we got guys switching instruments during the shows, playing trumpet and trombone, I picked up the cello, it has been a lot of fun,” he said.

The decision to have all multi-instrumentalists on the album and tour was intentional. In addition to the multi-faceted musicians, making a record with all female vocals was something Wooten said he always wanted to do. “It was something I wanted for quite a few years and I just felt this was the one to do it, and to keep in the tradition of making each one of my records different from the last. Each album I hope gets better in quality, production and writing, but I went down some different roads that I hadn’t before with what I’m playing, and with the songwriting. There are some ballads on there I wrote with singers in mind, so the writing is quite different and I think it will be self-evident as soon as people hear it,” Wooten said.

Wooten is probably best known for his work with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, which he helped start back in the late 1980s. It was a perfect fit; a unique band that featured members with diverse musical styles that formed to create a sound like no other. Wooten takes many lessons from his time with the Flecktones which eventually helped shape his award-winning solo career.

“I came to the band with a unique playing style, playing in a way that bass players weren’t playing. So bringing that of course changed the band, but every member of the band did that,” Wooten recalled. “I think the Flecktones are what they are because of the individual members going so far with their music and their instruments, being out there on a limb, but we were out there together. So the band shaped each individual and each individual shaped the band.”

Wooten has never rested on his laurels, and these days he’s as busy as ever. Not only did he just finish a reunion with the Flecktones and write and record his latest albums, but just last year he started his own recording company VIX Records. It was a culmination of learning the hard way about the business of music. “The main thing for me is I wanted to be in control of my music. It doesn’t make sense to me that a record company should own the music you create. I just wanted to be in control so I could see where every dollar goes. And you can’t see that with the record label,” he said.

In addition to that hands-on approach, Wooten not only reinvents music but helps to build its future as well. For the past 13 years the camp he started, Wooten Woods, has helped aspiring musicians of all ages hone their craft and grow as people too. “The goal is to be able to help musicians and non-musicians find themselves. There’s so many walls and baggage in the way when we play, and it’s usually because of the way we were taught. But like learning a language, you just learn it by being around and using it. This is a place where people can grow. What we do is create a place where people can let their hair down, let their guard down, figure out that it’s ok to be who you really are and not try to be anyone else.”

 

:: Victor Wooten Band ::

:: Boulder Theater :: July 12 ::

:: Aggie Theatre :: July 13 ::

:: Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom : July 14 ::

 

Recommended if you Like:

 

• Béla Fleck and the Flecktones

• Marcus Miller

• Stanley Clarke

 

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