Victor Wooten redefines the word musician. Regaled as the most influential bassist since Jaco Pastorius, Victor is known for his solo recordings and tours, and as a member of the Grammy-winning supergroup, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones. He is an innovator on the bass guitar, as well as a talented composer, arranger, producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. But those gifts only begin to tell the tale of this Tennessee titan.
Victor is the loving husband and devoted father of four; the youngest sibling of the amazing Wooten brothers (Regi, Roy, Rudy and Joseph), and the bassist in their famed family band; the student in the martial art of Wing Chun and the nature survival skill of Tracking; the teacher of dozens of bass players at his acclaimed annual Bass & Nature camp; and the master magician.
Victor Lemonte Wooten got to music early, growing up in a military family in which his older brothers all played and sang. By the time he was 3, Victor was being taught bass by his oldest brother Regi, and at age 5 he was performing professionally with the Wooten Brothers Band. He recalls, “My parents and brothers were the foundation. They prepared me for anything by teaching me to keep my mind open and learn to adapt.” Working their way east from Sacramento, the band played countless clubs and eventually opened concerts for Curtis Mayfield and War.
Victor was influenced by bass mentors, Stanley Clarke, Larry Graham and Bootsy Collins, while learning about the music business at a wildly accelerated pace. By the early ’80s, with the family settled in Newport News, Virginia, the brothers became mainstays at Busch Gardens theme park in nearby Williamsburg, making numerous connections with musicians in Nashville and New York.
In 1988 Victor moved to Nashville, where he worked with singer Jonell Mosser and met New Grass Revival banjo ace Béla Fleck. A year later, Fleck enlisted Vic, his brother Roy (a.k.a. Future Man) and harmonica-playing keyboardist Howard Levy to perform with him, and the Flecktones were born. After three highly successful albums, Levy departed in 1993, and the band’s new trio format enabled Victor to develop and display a staggering array of fingerboard skills that turned him into a bass hero of Pastorian-proportions and helped earn the band a Grammy.
With the Flecktones in full flight, Victor set his sights on a solo career, first forming Bass Extremes with fellow low-end lord Steve Bailey (leading to an instructional book/CD and two CDs, to date), and finally releasing his critically-acclaimed solo debut, A Show of Hands, in 1996. Soon after, Vic took his solo show on the road with drummer J.D. Blair. Momentum and accolades built with successive tours and the release of What Did He Say? in 1997, the Grammy-nominated Yin-Yang in 1999 and the double CD, Live In America in 2001.