Vic­tor Wooten: ‘I wanted to take peo­ple on a trip’

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - MUSIC - BY BARRY COURTER STAFF WRITER Con­tact Barry Courter at bcourter@times­freep­ or 423-757-6354.

As the youngest of five boys, Vic­tor Wooten got not only the well-prac­ticed wis­dom of his par­ents, he had ex­am­ples of how those teach­ings should be lived out through his sib­lings.

The ba­sic mes­sage of the l es­sons con­stantly em­pha­sized by his par­ents was sim­ple but far-reach­ing in scope.

“They were not so con­cerned with what we did, but they were con­cerned with who we were as peo­ple,” Wooten said. “If what we are and what we did didn’t make us or the peo­ple around us bet­ter peo­ple, they ques­tioned what we were do­ing.”

Wooten said in a tele­phone in­ter­view that he has lived by those words ev­ery day of his life. It in­forms ev­ery­thing he does from the time he wakes up un­til the time he goes to sleep ev­ery sin­gle day.

“One hun­dred per­cent,” he said. “If there was a big­ger per­cent­age, I would go with that. Our par­ents preached that ev­ery day to the five of us boys, and I saw that my broth­ers were liv­ing it.”

Wooten, who also per­forms with Bela Fleck & The Fleck­tones, is known around the world as one of the great bass play­ers of our time. He will bring his trio and a new al­bum’s worth of ma­te­rial to Song­birds Gui­tar Mu­seum on Fri­day, Nov. 3, for a sold­out show.

In ad­di­tion to be­ing a great bass player, Wooten is a pro­ducer, au­thor, com- poser and ed­u­ca­tor, teach­ing mu­sic and life lessons to peo­ple of all ages at Vic­tor Wooten’s Cen­ter for Nature, a 147-acre re­treat in Mid­dle Ten­nessee. He is also an ac­ro­bat, ma­gi­cian and nat­u­ral­ist.

The Huff­in­g­ton Post named him one of “50 Iconic Black Trail­blaz­ers” in 2017.

Wooten said that be­ing a good mu­si­cian is part of who he is, but that it al­lows him to use his skills to ben­e­fit oth­ers.

“I re­mem­ber tak­ing the time one af­ter­noon when I was re­ally young ty­ing my shoes or eat­ing or what­ever and look­ing at how it ben­e­fits any­one else. My mother would ask, ‘What does the world need with just an­other good musi- cian? We have plenty. What the world needs is good peo­ple.’”

He pre­sented this mes­sage to the grad­u­at­ing glass at the Univer­sity of Ver­mont Ruben­stein School dur­ing a com­mence­ment speech last year. He gave the speech while also play­ing the bass.

“That was a lot of fun,” he said. “I’ve never done that. It was chal­leng­ing, but fun.”

That could also de­scribe “Tryp­no­tyx,” the CD he recorded with drum­mer Den­nis Cham­bers and sax­o­phone player Bob Frances­chini. It also features singer Var­i­jashree Venugopal and co­me­dian/voicetru­men­tal­ist Michael Winslow of the Po­lice Acad­emy movies. The al­bum was re­leased Sept. 8.

It is a funky, far-reach­ing, genre-bend­ing col­lec­tion of new ma­te­rial.

“As with all my records, I like for them all to be dif­fer­ent. I didn’t want peo­ple to feel like they’d heard it be­fore. I wanted to make a mind- blow­ing record and to take peo­ple on a trip.”


Vic­tor Wooten will per­form a sold-out show Fri­day at Song­birds Gui­tar Mu­seum.

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