Review Summary: Vic’s a talented man. That’s about all there is to it.
Victor Wooten is a bass virtuoso. Usually you don’t hear about bass virtuosos. The only other one that comes to mind at the moment is Billy Sheehan, but I’m sure someone can call me on that. But the thing about virtuosos is that usually the focus is on them at all times. Look at guitarists like Joe Satriani or Steve Vai. It’s hard to do that with bass, but Wooten proves that he can play amazingly well and take the lead without being overpowering.
There are many times on this album that Victor takes a backseat, even in the many instrumental tracks that litter throughout this album. However, for the most part he does a tradeoff with all of the other instruments. You will hear him play a part, and then someone else will respond, whether it’s guitar, drums, horns or violins. While it may be listed under Victor Wooten’s name, it should be known that there are many other people working with Victor on this album.
For example, in “Cambo,”
there is a ridiculously good organ solo, before going into a primarily percussion-based bridge before Victor himself comes slapping back in on the bass to build everything back up, into a very tasteful bass solo. In “Song For My Father,”
there is a great saxophone solo. You’ll hear it all on this CD, as there are large amounts of instruments present. But they all meld together into an upbeat jazz style that will keep you bobbing your head throughout the entire album. “Left, Right and Center,”
are very up tempo, and possess a driving quality that make the songs actually seem shorter than they are. “Sifu,”
especially, creates an intense mood, making use of sound bites and a slow intro before kicking it in with a blast of horns, bass and guitar. “Us 2,”
and “The Gospel”
instead take a much slower pace, slowing you down from the aforementioned songs, and allowing you to get your breath back. The songs that have vocals also work very well, as most of the vocals are comprised of a group, although you can easily pick out individuals. “I Saw God,”
is an interesting piece that utilizes many different vocalists throughout, although it may come off as a bit cheesy and preachy, especially due to the subject matter. I can see how it might bother some listeners, though I myself don’t have a problem with it.
Although I do make mention of how Wooten takes a backseat, he will grab your attention every time he plays. It is clear that the man knows what he’s doing, and his style works seamlessly. He is a master of slapping, and able to play up high on the fretboard at ridiculous speeds. Of course, he can also play at ridiculous speeds on the low frets as well. The problem with all virtuosos though, is that listeners have a tendency to just think “Well, they’re just showing off.” While this may be true, most of these people have the skill to be able to show off, and Victor Wooten is certainly one of those men. Although he can play with speed, he also knows when to rein it in, and when to let loose. In short, he knows how to write music instead of how to just wank off trying to impress people with his skill. The man knows what he is doing, and you will be able to tell if you give the CD a listen.