About to begin his 28 city tour promoting his hot trio album with Dennis Chambers and Bob Franceschini, Grammy-winning bassist Victor Wooten went solo this evening at the cozy Grammy Museum, giving the audience an evening of inspiring conversation and musical performance
The 45+ minute Q&A between Wooten and Scott Goldman covered fascinating topics ranging from the bassist’s latest album Trypnotyx to the lessons he teaches his students at his Wooten Woods bass camp in Nashville. Wooten emphasized that “I don’t play bass; I play music,” comparing it to the natural way that we speak. “We don’t say, “I speak ‘mouth’. We say that we speak English. The mouth is the instrument, and the music that we play should be as natural as how we speak.” At his bass camp, he emphasizes that “notes alone don’t make music; doing something with them is where the magic is.”
Wooten also talked about the link between inspiration and creation. “If inspiration brings a feeling, try to create the same feeling some time to get an inspiration,” he stated. Discussing his latest album, he mentioned the importance of how he, Chambers and Franceschini all bring something to each song, as “they listen to whatever I do, and then make it work.” About his motivation for recording his classic Show of Hands, he said that ‘the goal is to do a record that I would like to listen to.”
Wooten spent much time during the closing moments and while warming up talking about keeping positive about life. “Make success a habit,” he advised, “make your bed, brush your teeth successfully, and the more things you’re successful at, the more you will win the day.” He referred to how he keeps positive by “taking spiritual vitamins” by reading motivating literature and thinking about the positive things and people in his life.
Donning his bass, he divided his performance into three sections. The first part was a wondrous solo improvisation where he used a variety of loops to create layers of melodies, rhythms and textures that went from bluesy to funk to rich percussion. His bass was slapped, strummed plucked, thumbed and stroked with the dynamics changing like the colors of a prism.
Closing by singing and playing the upbeat “I Saw God,” Wooten used the lyrics not to sound heretical, but to point out that everyone is created in God’s image, and therefore has precious worth. Wooten’s optimistic attitude about music, and more importantly, about life, made you want to take a trip to Wooten’s Woods and pick up a tip or two on music and the reason we’re alive.