Victor Wooten

Victor Lemonte Wooten (born September 11, 1964) is an American bass player, composer, author, producer, educator, and recipient of five Grammy Awards.

Wooten has won the “Bass Player of the Year” award from Bass Player magazine three times and is the first person to win the award more than once. In 2011, he was named #10 in the “Top 10 Bassists of All Time” by Rolling Stone. In addition to a solo career and collaborations with various artists, Wooten has been the bassist for Béla Fleck and the Flecktones since the group’s formation in 1988.

In 2008, Wooten joined Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller to record an album. The trio of bassists, under the name SMV, released Thunder in August 2008 and began a supporting tour the same month.

Wooten has also written a novel titled “The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music”. On his website he has stated that he is currently writing a sequel and intends to release at least three more books.

Wooten also operates his own record label, Vix Records, on which he releases his own music.

Early life

Born to Dorothy and Elijah Wooten, Victor is the youngest of the five Wooten Brothers; Regi, Roy, Rudy and Joseph Wooten, all of whom are musicians. Regi began to teach Victor to play bass when he was two, and by the age of six, Victor was performing with his brothers in their family band, The Wooten Brothers Band. As a United States Air Force family, they moved around a lot when Victor was very young, finally settling in the Warwick Lawns neighborhood of Newport News, Virginia in 1972. He graduated from Denbigh High School in 1982. While in high school, Victor and his brothers played in the country music revue at Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia. In 1987, he traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to visit friends that he made at the theme park, one of whom was a studio engineer who introduced him to Béla Fleck, with whom he still collaborates musically.

Instruments

Wooten playing his headless bass guitar known as his “Sitar Bass” at the Belly Up in San Diego 2006.

Wooten is most often seen playing Fodera basses, of which he has a signature model. His most famous Fodera, a 1983 Monarch Deluxe he refers to as “number 1,” sports a Kahler Tremolo System model 2400 bridge. Fodera’s “Yin Yang” basses (co-designed by and created for Wooten) incorporates the Yin Yang symbol—which Wooten uses in various media—as a focal point of the top’s design and construction. The symbol is created from two pieces of naturally finished wood (Ebony and Holly, for example), fitted together to create the Yin-Yang pattern. As well as playing electric bass (both fretted and fretless) and the double bass, Victor also played the cello in high school. He still plays cello occasionally with the Flecktones as well as in the 2012 Sword and Stone/Words and Tones tour.

Workshops

In 2000 Wooten created a music program called Bass/Nature camp that has since expanded into Victor Wooten’s Center for Music and Nature and now includes all instruments. All of Wooten’s camps are held at his location called Wooten Woods which is a 147 acre retreat center located in Only, Tennessee, outside of Nashville. He holds the classes in spring and summer. Wooten also co-leads the “Victor Wooten/Berklee Summer Bass Workshop” at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. At Berklee and his own camps, Wooten collaborations with Berklee Bass Department chair, Steve Bailey. The two bassists have been teaching together since the early 1990s.

He was featured on the May/June 2014 cover of Making Music Magazine to discuss the music nature camps.

Discography

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones § Discography, Bass Extremes, and Vital Tech Tones
Solo
  • A Show of Hands (1996)
  • What Did He Say? (1997)
  • Yin-Yang (1999)
  • Live in America (2001)
  • Soul Circus (2005)
  • Palmystery (2008)
  • A Show of Hands 15 (2011)
  • Words & Tones (2012)
  • Sword & Stone (2012)
With Bass Extremes
  • Cookbook (1998)
  • Just Add Water (2000)
With Vital Tech Tones
  • Vital Tech Tones (1998)
  • Vital Tech Tones 2 (2000)
With The Wootens
  • The Wootens (1985)
With Greg Howe
  • Extraction (2003)
With SMV
  • Thunder (2008) (with Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller, as SMV)
With Béla Fleck and the Flecktones
  • Béla Fleck and the Flecktones (1990)
  • Flight of the Cosmic Hippo (1991)
  • UFO Tofu (1992)
  • Three Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1993)
  • Live Art (1996)
  • Left of Cool (1998)
  • Greatest Hits of the 20th Century (1999)
  • Outbound (2000)
  • Live at the Quick (2002)
  • Little Worlds (2003)
  • Ten From Little Worlds (2003)
  • The Hidden Land (2006)
  • Jingle All the Way (2008)
  • Rocket Science (2011)

Bibliography

  • The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music, ISBN 978-0-425-22093-1, Penguin Group, 2008
  • Tonya Jameson, Pop Music Writer. “Pushing the Envelope; Flecktones Bassis Victor Wooten hits a new stride in two-disc album.” Charlotte Observer, The (NC) 01 Dec. 2000: NewsBank – Archives. Web. 11 Oct. 2012.
  • Ron, Wynn. “Victor Wooten expands his profile with two ambitious solo records; To the Victor ..” Nashville Scene (TN) 20 Sept. 2012: NewsBank. Web. 11 Oct. 2012.
  • Robert, Bell. “Friday To-Do: Victor Wooten.” Arkansas Times: Blogs (AR) 27 Sept. 2012: NewsBank. Web. 11 Oct. 2012.
  • Gary, Demuth. “Bassist Victor Wooten takes spiritual approach to music.; Victor Wooten 2/1;.” Salina Journal, The (KS) 1 June 2007: NewsBank. Web. 11 Oct. 2012.
  • “Victor Wooten’s Mystical Quest.” Downbeat 77.7 (2010): 26-35. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Oct. 2012.
  • Michael, Deeds. “Music runs in Victor Wooten´s family.” Idaho Statesman, The (Boise, ID) 31 Jan. 2003: 20. NewsBank – Archives. Web. 11 Oct. 2012.
  • Wooten, Victor. “I Saw God.” YouTube. Google, n.d. Web.[15]
  • The Baltimore Sun; Sam, Sessa. “A Natural Language; Star Bassist Victor Wooten says music is best taught through performance, not practice; Concerts.” Sun, The (Baltimore, MD) 2 July 2010: NewsBank. Web. 11 October 2012.

Official Website

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