Beyond the Bass Groove: The Music Journey of Victor Wooten

Written By Sonny Akbar Sembada

Hi, my name is Sonny Akbar Sembada and I welcome you to my blog, The Uncle Jazz. The main topic of my blog is everything related to jazz music.. 

Beyond the Bass Groove: The Music Journey of Victor Wooten, the guy who’s rewriting the rulebook for what it means to be a “musician.” If you’re into bass, chances are you’ve heard of him.

He’s been holding down the groove since the Jaco Pastorius era and making waves with his solo acts and the Grammy-winning supergroup, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones. But Victor’s story goes way beyond the strings.

Victor Wooten: Beyond the Bass Groove

Beyond the bass groove Victor wears many hats – he’s a loving family man, a dad to four awesome kids, the youngest in the Wooten Brothers band (yep, the musical powerhouse with Regi, Roy, Rudy, and Joseph), and a bass wizard.

But that’s not all; he’s also a martial arts enthusiast, a nature survival tracking buff, a mentor at the famous Bass & Nature camp, and did we mention he’s a pretty slick magician too?

Jamming Since Diapers and Picking Up Influences Along the Way

Beyond the bass groove of Victor Lemonte Wooten has been swimming in the music pool since he was knee-high, coming from a military family where everyone played some kind of instrument. At three, he was already getting bass lessons from his big bro, Regi, and by five, he was on stage, propping up the bass line for the Wooten Brothers Band.

“My folks and siblings were my backbone. They prepped me for everything by teaching me to stay open-minded and be adaptable.” With the band, they gigged in clubs, even opening for legends like Curtis Mayfield and War while touring from Sacramento to who knows where.

Yotube video by EMGtv

So, who molded this bass giant? Influencers like Stanley Clarke, Larry Graham, and Bootsy Collins shaped Victor’s bass brain while he quickly learned the ropes of the music biz. In the early ’80s, when the family settled in Newport News, Virginia, the Wooten bros became regulars at Busch Gardens amusement park in Williamsburg, making connections with musicians in Nashville and New York.

Fast forward to 1988 – Victor packs his bags and heads to Nashville. He teams up with singer Jonell Mosser and crosses paths with banjo whiz Béla Fleck, the New Grass Revival superstar. A year later, Fleck invites Victor, his bro Roy (aka Future Man), and harmonica/keyboard maestro Howard Levy to join him. And bam! The Flecktones are born. After three mega albums, Levy steps out in ’93, paving the way for Victor to flex his fingerboard magic and become a Grammy-winning bass hero.

Read also: Journey of a Guitar Legend: Hiram Bullock

While rocking the Flecktones, Victor shifts focus to solo gigs. First, he teams up with bass bud Steve Bailey for Bass Extremes (think instructional books/CDs and killer tunes). Then, in ’96, he drops his solo debut, “A Show of Hands.” Fast forward through tours, albums like “What Did He Say?” (1997), Grammy-nominee “Yin-Yang” (1999), and the double whammy “Live In America” (2001).

The Man Can’t Stop Winning Awards

Victor bags two Nashville Music Awards for Bassist Of The Year and snags the Bass Player magazine’s Bass Player Of The Year title three times – talk about a hat trick! With all these accolades, the offers pour in, turning Victor into a sideman for the likes of Branford Marsalis, Mike Stern, Bruce Hornsby, Chick Corea, Dave Matthews, Prince, Gov’t Mule, Susan Tedeschi, and many more.

After rocking tours with the Flecktones and Bass Extremes in 2004, Victor zeroes in on his solo game in 2005. His Vanguard Records debut, “Soul Circus,” drops like a bomb. With guest appearances from the Wooten clan, Bootsy Collins, rapper/vocalist Arrested Development Speech, and a bunch of legendary bassists, it’s a groovy masterpiece.

Beyond the bass groove Victor Wooten – always pushing the musical envelope and growing as an artist. And with “Soul Circus,” he’s bringing his A-game to Vanguard. Get ready for the sonic carnival!

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