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Victor WOOTEN – Palmystery 2008

Posted in JAZZ, Victor WOOTEN on November 16, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Victor WOOTEN – Palmystery 2008

Jazz

Victor Wooten makes his strongest musical statement yet on his debut disc with Heads Up Palmystery.  While he has already garnered the great critical praise he richly deserves as a solo artist, this disc may finally give him broader recognition among jazz fans.  Known primarily as the bassist in banjo ace Bela Fleck’s group, Wooten has won two Nashville Music Awards as Bassist Of The Year and is the only three time winner of Bass Player magazine’s prestigious Bass Player Of The Year award.  In addition to Fleck, Wooten has worked with jazzers Branford Marsalis, Mike Stern, Chick Corea, blues musician Susan Tedeschi and the Jaco Pastorius Word Of Mouth Big Band.

This disc, Wooten’s sixth disc as a leader, is a collection of jazz, funk, world music and assorted other styles all united by Wooten’s virtuosic bass work.  The wide variety of styles presented aptly demonstrates just how dexterous Wooten’s abilities are.  “2 Timers” is full of horn-aided riffs driven by a powerful bass line that forces the music forward at a rapid pace.  “The Lesson,” a bass solo accompanied only by light percussion, gives Wooten the room to run a number of different musical phrases to their tangential completion before returning to the melody.  That there are no overdubs on this cut only reinforces the virtuosity for which Wooten has long been famous.

Horace Silver’s “Song For My Father” is given a funky updating.  Karl Denson’s tenor is tight but light, mixing well with Regi Wooten’s metrically off-kilter guitar smacks and Victor’s trippy bass lines.  Together the seven musicians on this cut run the great pianist’s classic tune through a number of different styles and feels in swift succession.  Just as you think the musicians are about to catch their breath, they’re off into another musical dimension and time-feel, shifting effortlessly between styles.  “Flex” is all about speed.  How the six musicians get from point A at the beginning to point B at the end is anyone’s guess.  Throughout they push and push and push each other to flights of not just vastly swift lines but also to increasingly inventive motivic phrases.

Other standout tracks include “Happy Song” and “Miss U.”  “Happy” is a light and bouncy tune full of inventive turns of phrase and nimble-finger bass work.  The song is so marvelously over-the-top joyful one can’t help but be reminded of Al di Meola’s “Roller Jubilee” from Splendido Hotel.  “Miss U,” featuring The Lee Boys on vocals, is a popish and jauntily confident tune that would not be out of place on pop radio.

If there is a single prevailing mood, it would have to be defined as upbeat cheerfulness mixed with strong artistic statements.  Together this combination is a can’t miss success and the end result is easily Wooten’s best solo work to date.
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As the virtuoso bass man for Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten has become a hero to four- (and five-) stringers everywhere. On his own, he creates a sound that largely rejects the rootsier side of Fleck’s sound, embracing instead the funk and jazz-fusion flavors that have already been flowing through him for many years. Wooten’s been making solo albums since the mid-’90s, but PALMYSTERY is one of his most wide-ranging efforts yet, incorporating soul/R&B, gospel, bluesy guitar licks (courtesy of Keb’ Mo’), and of course the death-defying thumb acrobatics for which the world-class bassist is best known.
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“It doesn’t matter how you go about writing songs,” says bassist Victor Wooten. “The music is coming from somewhere. If we think it’s our brain, or some strictly intellectual source, I would say we’re mistaken. Sometimes the songs show up quickly, almost completely. That’s when you realize, `Wow, I didn’t even write this song. It happened on its own.’ But whether it comes together in 30 minutes or several months, it’s coming from the same place. Call it what you want to – spirituality, mysticism, whatever – that energy is there. The musician is the conduit that enables that energy to enter the world.”
By Victor Wooten..
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We live in an age when science and technology have answers for almost every question, and there’s little if any room left for the unsolved or the unexplained. In the highly accelerated, digitally-driven culture of the 21st century, the mystery and mysticism of the world around us has slipped almost completely out of our collective grasp.
And yet, there are those fortunate few who are still tapped into the less concrete – but perhaps more real – dimensions of the human experience. Among them is bassist Victor Wooten, whose sense of creative exploration has fueled a highly successful career that spans more than two decades, five solo recordings, a diverse resume of guest-artist work and a longstanding collaborative relationship with the innovative Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.
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Bassist Victor Wooten makes his debut on Heads Up International with the worldwide release of “Palmystery” on April 1, 2008. In keeping with the ongoing philosophy of genre-bending eclecticism that has driven all of his solo work, “Palmystery” embraces a range of styles – jazz, funk, pop, soul, gospel, world music and more – and boasts a diverse guest list that includes Mike Stern, Richard Bona, Keb’ Mo’ and several others. The result is an amalgam of voices, styles and grooves, but one that never fails to hold together at its rock-solid core – in much the same way that Wooten’s legions of devoted fans hail from all walks of life and all corners of the globe, yet share a common affinity for artistic diversity.
“Palmystery”‘s April 1 release date is simultaneous with the release of “The Music Lesson,” Wooten’s new novel published by Berkley Trade Paperback (The Penguin Group USA). “The Music Lesson” is the story of a struggling young musician who is unexpectedly visited by a mysterious, seemingly mystic music teacher who guides him through a spiritual journey of higher education in both music and life.

The themes of spirituality and mysticism at the core of “The Music Lesson” dovetail perfectly with those of “Palmystery.” A few of the twelve tracks on the album were written over the past couple years, and have since been road tested in Wooten’s live shows. Others were written only recently. Whatever the time frame, Wooten maintains a great respect for the mystery of the creative process – something that is very real, yet can never be completely explained.
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Victor Wooten- Bass, Lead Vocals (2), Hand Claps (4), Vocals (9), Slide Bass (7, 12), Tenor Bass (8), Drum Programming (12)
Joseph Wooten- Keyboards (1-3, 6-9, 11, 12), Piano (1), Organ (7), Vocals (9)
Neal Evans- Organ (5, 9)
Dane Bryant- Keyboards (10)
Howard Levy- Harmonica (1)
Karl Denison- Tenor Sax (10)
Jeff Coffin- Tenor sax (1, 9), Baritone Sax (9)
Shawn Wallace- Alto Sax (6)
Rudy Wooten- Alto Sax (9, 11)
Rod McGaha- Trumpet (1, 9)
Barry Green- Trombone (1, 9)
Eric Silver- Violin (1), Mandolin (1)
Mike Stern- Guitar (5, 6)
Roosevelt Collier- Pedal Steel Guitar (7)
Alvin Lee- Guitar (7)
Regi Wooten- Guitar (2, 8, 10, 11)
Keb’ Mo’- Slide Guitar (12)
Amir Ali- Vocals (2, 3, 6), Violin (2, 8), Lute (2), Darbouka (2)
Saundra Williams- Vocals (2, 3, 7)
Richard Bona- Vocals (3), Percussion (3)
Chuck Rainey- Vocals (3)
Adam Wooten- Vocals (3)
Holly Wooten- Vocals (3)
Kaila Wooten- Vocals (3)
Daniel Hunt: Vocals (3)
Alvin Chea- Vocals (6)
Sifu Brian Edwards- Vocals (6)
Derrick Lee- Vocals (7)
Keith Lee- Vocals (7)
Dorothy Wooten- Vocals (9)
Doug Woodard- Vocals (9)
The Woodard Family- Vocals (9)
Anthony Wellington- Bass (2, 8)
Alvin Cordy- Bass (7)
John Billings- Bass (11)
James Jackson- congas (6)
Roy Wooten- Cajon (4, 6), Shakers (4), Hand Claps (4)
Darrell Tibbs- Percussion (6, 10)
J.D. Blair- Drums (1, 5, 6)
Dennis Chambers- Drums (5)
Will Kennedy- Drums (5, 9)
Earl Walker- Drums (7)
Raymond Massey- Drums (11)
Derico Watson- Drums (1-3, 8, 10)
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01. 2 Timers 4:51
02. Combo 5:25
03. I saw God 4:20
04. The Lesson 5:55
05. Left, Right & Center 7:11
06. Sifu 7:36
07. Miss U 4:33
08. Flex 6:37
09. The Gospel 6:42
10. Song for my Father 5:19
11. Happy Song 4:23
12. Us 2 2:56
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