Editors' pick

Victor Wooten

Jazz
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Editorial Review

Michael Deeds wrote about Victor Wooten in April 2005 for The Washington Post:

Victor Wooten isn't the David Copperfield of bass guitar just because of his magically jaw-dropping chops. During concerts, he actually makes his instrument levitate. So it's no shocker that Wooten has lots more tricks up his sleeve on his most accessible solo album -- a fusion of funk, rock and hip-hop.

Don't worry, bassheads: Wooten, the bassist for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, plucks every string he can here. But he pulled even more strings to enlist guests including harmonica whiz Howard Levy, soulful singer Saundra Williams and an array of bass-flogging talent ranging from Christian McBride to Bootsy Collins. Low-frequency freaks will salivate over the ultra-groovy "Bass Tribute," which re-creates the styles of such bottom-end legends as Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke.

On most of the disc, instrumental-shred moments are interspersed with vocals by Wooten and crew. As notes stream by on the self-serving but slick "Victa," Collins spews, "Galactic oscillation! Paranormal observations, baby!" "Higher Law" is a fiery, rockin' protest tune that Lenny Kravitz probably wishes he'd penned.

"Can't Hide Love," a silicon-smooth jazz-instrumental cover, oozes wine, candles and a sexy significant other. There's only one dud, the inexplicable "Cell Phone," which gives studio life to the most annoying noise heard at concerts.

When a rhythm-section musician makes a solo CD, it's often an obsessive demonstration of virtuoso overkill that only a mother could love. Being the current mother of all bassists, Wooten obviously realizes that you can showcase technical proficiency without sacrificing mainstream allure.