Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

7

The Victor Wooten Trio at The Ardmore Music Hall

Mike Jacobs By

Sign in to view read count
The Victor Wooten Trio
The Ardmore Music Hall
Ardmore PA
March 4, 2017

Bass innovator Victor Wooten may not quite be a household name, but he's pretty well known as instrumentalists go. This is attributable to his talents, yes, but also to the many different types of projects in which his talents have been presented over the years. From the unique crossover spacegrass / jazz / jam band appeal of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones to his solo outings and recent triple bass project SMV (with Marcus Miller and Stanley Clarke), to numerous touring and recorded appearances with a who's who in the Jazz and Jazz/Rock world; Wooten has made a name.

So when it was a sold-out, standing-room-only crowd at The Ardmore Music Hall for his trio project, it was little surprise. The heavy attendance was surely compounded by the fact that Wooten had in tow veteran saxman Bob Franceschini (Mike Stern, Yellowjackets, Paul Simon), and doubly so for having the legendary Dennis Chambers on drums.

Taking the stage and diving straight into a pair of tunes to be included on the trio's upcoming recording, Wooten and company wasted no time in engaging the packed house with not only a signature blend of melodic jazz/funk, but also a sense of fun that was equally infectious. That sense of fun in the music often masked the serious skills required for its execution. Moreover, Wooten's unique bass abilities virtually eradicated the necessity of the more implied harmonic palette generally dictated by bass/saxophone/drum configurations—(bass and sax being traditionally monophonic in nature). To say "traditional" and "monophonic" were not in VW's bass vocabulary might be the biggest understatement in a musical evening where the chops cup runneth over.

But lack of understatement is not something likely to depress those drawn to see a band that is two thirds Wooten/Chambers. Indeed, it is something their followers relish and accordingly, large swaths of the evening's set were reserved for titanic displays and interplay between the two. Dennis Chambers consistently amazing performance was especially heartening in light of his recent recovery from serious medical problems and it can be happily reported that the Chambers drum magic is clearly alive and well and in abundance.

Though exhibitions of vast facility were an expected order of the night, it would be wrong to say the performance was lacking in dynamics or subtleties. Chops monsters though they be, both Chambers and Wooten showed why they are A-Listers for musicality as well as technicality. Bob Franceschini also asserted his taste, tone and touch on a lush ballad or two then showed a deft, reactive playfulness on tunes like "13th Floor" and "Zenergy." And while he amply held his own, formidably sparring with his bandmates when called, he knew when to play colorist or bow out altogether to let Messrs. Wooten and Chambers wax virtuosic.

Because he pioneered solo bass performance more than two decades ago, it was also not a surprise that a good portion of the show was set aside for Wooten to go it alone. This perhaps is what many people came to see as much as anything—and they weren't let down. Wooten covered miles of stylistic territory in the solo set, from Latin to Funk, introspectiveness to clowning, faithfully reproduced staples to improvised excursions with spontaneous song references thrown in for good measure. And with every moment he wowed the crowd alone onstage, the notion that his solo bass concept was initially such a hard sell to record companies and promoters in the early days was made more and more laughable.

Chambers and Franceschini rejoined Wooten to close the set and then came out for an rousing encore with a trio arrangement of one of Wooten's signature tunes, "The Lesson." This capped an evening well spent and one obviously enjoyed by the appreciative crowd. Their upcoming recording together will be a keeper if they can capture half of the mojo they let fly this night at The Ardmore Music Hall.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Date Detail Price
Dec15Sat
8:00 pm
Victor Wooten, Dennis Chambers, Bob Franceschini
Teatro Jorge Eliecer Gaitan
Bogota, Colombia
Feb8Fri
8:00 pm
Victor Wooten
Iridium
New York, NY
Feb8Fri
10:00 pm
Victor Wooten
Iridium
New York, NY
Feb9Sat
10:00 pm
Victor Wooten
Iridium
New York, NY
Feb9Sat
8:00 pm
Victor Wooten
Iridium
New York, NY

Related Articles

Read Jazz Migration 2018 Live Reviews
Jazz Migration 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Bessie Smith Empress of the Blues Tribute at The Cabot Live Reviews
Bessie Smith Empress of the Blues Tribute at The Cabot
by Doug Hall
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Joe Gransden's Big Band At Cafe 290 Live Reviews
Joe Gransden's Big Band At Cafe 290
by Martin McFie
Published: December 9, 2018
Read U2 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin Live Reviews
U2 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 9, 2018
Read David Johansen at The Space at Westbury Live Reviews
David Johansen at The Space at Westbury
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: December 9, 2018
Read Joshua Bowlus Trio at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Joshua Bowlus Trio at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: December 8, 2018
Read "U2 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin" Live Reviews U2 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 9, 2018
Read "Papanosh in a Finnish Forest" Live Reviews Papanosh in a Finnish Forest
by Anthony Shaw
Published: August 8, 2018
Read "Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC Winter Jazzfest" Live Reviews Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café" Live Reviews Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: January 2, 2018