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Victor Wooten and Carter Beauford: Making Music


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Victor Wooten & Carter Beauford
Making Music
Hudson Music

One of my favorite VHS tapes in High School around 14 years ago was the Hudson Music recording called Making Music, featuring Carter Beauford and Victor Wooten. This recording is still available from Hudson Music and, as of 2002, the film contains over 90 minutes of bonus footage.

When Carter Beauford was two, he started playing drums. He was so young that when he watched Buddy Rich play on TV and set his drum set up to mirror Rich's kit he didn't realize he'd set the drum set up backwards. So, for years Beauford played a left hand drum setup as a right hander.

So, if you didn't think he was beast enough already, now you know you'll probably never have his kind of ambidexterity... no matter how much you play.

Though Beauford is most known for his work with the popular acoustic rock outfit the Dave Matthews Band, his work with bassist Victor Wooten is nothing short of jazz excellence.

My first introduction into what it meant to own the bass came from watching Victor Wooten play on the Hudson-produced recording Live at Bass Day 1998. I'd never seen anyone slap a bass so hard. Man was he funky! And his rendition of "Amazing Grace" (with harmonics on a bass like you've never seen) still sends chills down the spine.

One of five musical brothers, Victor Wooten also began playing bass at two, and is probably most known for his work with Bela Fleck. Wooten has worked with Steve Bailey, Steve Smith (in the Vital Tech Tones), Marcus Miller, Greg Howe, and Chick Corea.

Didn't know Beauford ever played with Wooten? Yep. Actually, during Making Music (a look inside Victor Wooten's New York City based Yin Yang Sessions), Beauford and Wooten played together for the first time (though, according to Hudson Music, they've known each other since childhood). Bela Fleck makes an appearance on the recording as well as Jeff Coffin and Joseph Wooten.

Making Music, the work that Wooten and Beauford put together—the music they make—contains some of the best instructional jazz fusion that came out in the 1990s.

According to the Hudson website, "Over the course of this session, Carter and Victor discuss their approaches to both of the songs and isolate the bass and drums parts for each, covering topics such as playing in odd times, styles, musicianship, turnarounds and more."

With over 90 minutes of new material that isn't on the original tape, Making Music is probably one of the most dense and informative rhythm section master classes available. Within the session Beauford and Wooten take the listeners through two awesome songs, "Resolution" and "Zynergy," and break down everything from how they approach comping, to odd time signatures, to serving the song.

Though listening to each musician speak can get tiresome at times, putting these two master musicians together in a room was a gift to the world of jazz and what they have to say isn't nearly as powerful as how they play. A memorable part of the sessions is when Beauford goes over how he needed to change a part he thought was rather sophomoric by breaking it up into more of a linear groove. It's one of the most humbling experiences a drummer can face while watching a master at his craft.

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