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Published: 2001/11/21
by Chris Gardner

Live In America – Victor Wooten

Compass Records 7 4323 2

This double live set proves for the umpteenth time what anyone who pays
attention has known for years — Victor Wooten is absolutely sick. He
stands
tall among the most elite group of bassists, few of whom can rival his
technical proficiency. The man elicits sounds from the four-string that
simply boggle the mind, slacken the jaw, and send hips into juke joint
gyrations.

None of this saves the album.

The band, as the set closing Sly Stone medley amply proves, is seal skin
tight. Divinity slings her own bottom-heavy bass and brings a bucket full
of rhymes to the party, and Mike Miller matches Victor toe-to-toe in an
impressive bass duel.

None of this saves the album.

Bootsy Collins chopped out a tasty intro to the show. There are a dozen
dizzying moments of disbelief scattered throughout each disc. My
Life
drops a syncopated wrinkle as the man straps on an acoustic guitar.

None of this saves the album.

With Regi on the electric guitar and Joseph on the keys, this is essentially
the Wooten Family Band, and their camaraderie and obvious joy in playing
together is evident. This band has a damn good time, and the crowd seems to
as well.

None of this saves the album.

There are rich grooves a plenty here. The performances, which were culled
from four years worth of touring, are categorically impressive. The rub of
course that these are exercises for the mind and the ass, and more often the
former. Much like the Flecktones, this band seems unable to locate the
indefinable whatsit that grabs the deeper reaches of our souls and shakes
things around. Everything is impressive, but little is moving.

Victor Wooten has a closet spilling over with accolades from every reputed
magazine in the nation. He will be remembered as one of the instrument's
true innovators and one of its most capable practitioners, but until he
drags out some better material to showcase his talents, that is all he will
be remembered as.

Of course, being one of the best to ever strap on a bass ain't so bad.

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