Victor Wooten

Published on April 30th, 2018

Victor Wooten

Air Force kids who moved from place to place and found their anchor in music, the Wooten brothers are a story that continually amazes and inspires. Keyboardist Joseph Wooten has been a member of rock’s Steve Miller Band since 1993. Percussionist Roy “Future Man” Wooten is a longtime Flecktone — a bandmate of the unclassifiable banjoist Béla Fleck. Along with guitarist Regi Wooten and the late saxophonist Rudy Wooten, who died in 2010, the Wootens have occupied and defined musical space in multiple genres for decades. Innovators in sound, technique and instrumentation, they’ve given plenty to the arts.

And then there is bass-playing bandleader Victor Wooten, the best-known of the siblings, and an advocate for music whether or not it’s his. “Vic took me under his wing and championed what I was doing with the kalimba/sansula,” Miami-born musician Brandon Blake tells PureHoney, attesting to Wooten’s interest in Blake’s work with the African thumb piano. Blake, who now lives in Seattle, is not touring with Wooten but is an alumni of the Center for Music & Nature, a spring and summer music camp in Nashville that Wooten has run since 2000. Says Blake, “He encouraged me to ‘Get it out there, because it’s unique.’ His input and ideas helped me take my songs to a whole new level. He’s in every way a mentor, friend, hero and elder, but most importantly, just an all-around good person.”

Wooten has recorded and jammed with rock, jazz, funk and fusion luminaries, from Dave Matthews to Chick Corea to bassists-in-arms Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller. And of course, his siblings — his bandmates on and off since early childhood. “[T]hey needed a bass player to complete the family band. Regi started teaching me as soon as I could sit up straight,” Wooten says in his official biography.

The current Fun & Funk Xplosion tour unites Victor with siblings Regi and Roy, brass player Bob Franceschini, and special guest Sinbad — yes, that Sinbad, who’s been known to get percussive with his observational comedy. A Victor Wooten gig is enriching and satisfying, so expect to emerge inspired.

Victor Wooten, with special guest Sinbad, performs May 3 at the Broward Center Amaturo Theater in Fort Lauderdale. ~ Abel Folgar

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