LARGO – Audiences will have an opportunity to spend an evening with Victor Wooten Friday, Jan. 3, 8 p.m., at Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo.
Tickets start at $29.50 plus applicable service fee. Call 587-6793 or visit largoarts.com.
The five-time Grammy award winner is known for his solo recordings, tours and as a member of the Grammy-winning super group, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones.
Wooten has won most every major award given to a bass guitarist. He was voted Bassist of the Year by Bass Player Magazine three times and is the only person to have won the award more than once.
Brought into this world as Victor Lemonte Wooten in 1964, the future bassist spent his childhood paving the road toward musical success.
According to his bio provided by Compass Records, Wooten was born the youngest of five boys.
He was only 2 when he began learning to play music. At 5, he was playing nightclubs and theaters as the bassist in his family’s band. The following year saw him touring with his brothers, opening for legendary soul artist Curtis Mayfield.
“I was born at the right place and the right time to a wonderful family,” Wooten says in the biography.
By age 8, Wooten had earned the nickname Bass Ace. By the time he graduated high school, he and his brothers had shared the stage with artists such as Stephanie Mills, War, Ramsey Lewis, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Dexter Wansel, and The Temptations.
That is only the beginning of Wooten’s tale.
Fast forward to the late 1980s. Wooten was one of the founding members of Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, a band which formed initially for a one-time performance on the PBS series “Lonesome Pine Specials.” The band has released more than a dozen albums since its self-titled debut from Warner Bros. in 1990. Bela Fleck & The Flecktones also tours extensively, sometimes playing as many as 200 concerts a year.
As if he wasn’t busy enough with that project, Wooten also pursued a solo career, turning out half a dozen albums beginning with “A Show of Hands” in 1996. Recorded with only a four-string bass, no multi-tracking, and a lot of groove and soul, this revolutionary CD was voted one of the most important bass records of all time.
Around this time, musicians wanting to learn Wooten’s unique style and elusive techniques began seeking him out for lessons and seminars at music stores and schools around the world. These workshops became the training ground that lead to the formation of his acclaimed Bass/Nature Camp in 2000, which eventually expanded into Victor Wooten’s Center for Music and Nature. The center offers intensive style programs and welcomes all instrumentation and vocalists.
In 2009, Wooten Woods became the new home for all of Victor’s camps. The nearly 150-acre retreat, owned by Wooten and his wife, is located west of Nashville, Tenn. This picturesque retreat center has provided many more opportunities for Victor and his staff to share their lifelong experiences with others.
“We give students the opportunity to completely let go and be themselves while congregating in a peaceful noncompetitive manner on an equal playing ground with each other and their instructors,” Wooten said. “We’ve found this to be the best environment for learning.”
In 2008, Wooten released “Palmystery, his sixth solo recording. “Palmystery” contains a collection of all new music and features contributions by Bootsy Collins, Mike Stern, Keb Mo, Carl Denson, Jd Blair, Derico Watson, Saundra Williams, Anthony Wellington, Steve Bailey, Will Lee, Dennis Chambers, The Lee Boys, The Wooten Brothers and others. The album showcases Wooten’s jazz composition and arranging skills with songs like “Two Timers,” “Flex” and “Song for my Father.” It also brings to the forefront his artistically humble side with the celebratory track “Bass Tribute” and the thought provoking “I Saw God.”
On the same date, Wooten released “The Music Lesson – A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music,” a self-published novel about life and music.
The book presold hundreds of copies before its release quickly becoming a “must-read” for musicians world-wide.
With the success of the book came the release of “The Music Lesson” audiobook. Wooten lends his voice as the narrator and main character, but enlisted many of his friends and fellow musicians to read the parts of all the remaining characters. He also wrote and performed the musical score to the audio book, which was voted as a one of five finalists at the 2011 Audie Awards.
Continuing in his unique fashion of delivering musical innovation and thought-provoking compositions, Wooten delivered two new CDs in 2012: “Words and Tones,” a collection of 14 tracks featuring various female vocalists; and the instrumental “Sword and Stone.”
The CDs represent the various sides of Wooten’s approach to music, performance and songwriting, highlighted by searing bass solos.
In 2013, Wooten released the soundtrack to his audio book “The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music” on Vix Records via Compass Records distribution.
The primarily instrumental soundtrack features 31 original tracks of music as scored and performed by Wooten. Additional musicians on the recording include Béla Fleck, Roy Wooten, Joseph Wooten, Howard Levy, Michael Kott and Federica Pena. Once again, the recording is a showcase for Wooten’s writing and scoring capabilities.
Wooten continues to tour heavily with his band, which includes Wooten on electric, tenor and upright basses, cello, guitar and vocals; Krystal Peterson on vocals, keyboards, flute and drums; J. D. Blair on vocals and drums; Derico Watson on vocals and drums; Anthony Wellington on bass, keyboards, guitar and vocals; Steve Bailey on bass, keyboards, trombone and vocals; and Dave Welsch on bass, trumpet, keyboards and vocals. He recently completed a tour performing with is brothers Joeseph, Roy and Regi. The 11-city tour included stops in Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Maryland and New York.