Victor Wooten - Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale - October 5
Better than: Claiming you were there when, clearly, you weren't.
"The gig's going really well. I mean really well. The crowd is going wild -- people are dancing, yelling, and applauding loudly after every song, and the house is packed. There's someone who looks to be a talent agent in the back. The whole band is having a great night, hitting every groove, pulling off every little detail to make it right.
"The guitarist thinks, 'We're going to be famous. I'm going to be famous! Everyone's going to know my name. I'm going to have a lot of sex.'
"The drummer thinks, 'We're going to be rich. So rich. I'm going to buy a ton of gear.'
"The singer/rhythm guitarist thinks, 'This is wonderful. I can finally support my designer drug habit.'
"The bassist thinks, 'G - D - C - D - G.'"
-- The Prairie Home Companion Pretty Good Joke Book, Vols. 1 - 4, 1996.
To say that the bass guitar is an explicitly relegated instrument of rhythm is wrong. This wasn't so much a show as it was an extreme showcase of what the instrument, in the right hands, can do.
In a mixed crowd of jazz enthusiasts, progressive college kids, and some funky "devil may care" divas, Wooten and company did jazz right by mixing originals with pop standards (Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, etc.) in a way that was so seamless, it almost felt like a jam session at his house. That's a true mark of craftsmanship; when a stage filled with some of the jazz scene's hottest talents give it all out without competing with one another for attention and rather, build on their strengths, you've got yourself a show you'll be talking about for maybe ever.
And talk about it I will. As per our interview with him, Wooten's a humble man, completely devoted to his craft. He wholeheartedly understands the power of music, and moreover, understands that he is not alone in this game. Case in point, one of the better aspects of a jazz show is listening to the musicians speak between tracks. Wooten has performed with drummer JD Blair for more than 20 years now, but nothing is as affirmative to the power of their friendship and professional relationship as when Victor announced that JD would be leaving the tour soon to join Shania Twain in Vegas.