For his first new solo album in four years, Grammy Award-winning bass guitar player Victor Wooten gives fans double the music.
One album, “Words and Tones,” features all female vocalists. The second album, “Sword and Stone,” features nine of the songs included on “Words and Tones.” Both discs offer 14 songs each.
A founding member of the bluegrass/jazz group Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Wooten became one of the best known within the group, as well as one of the most in-demand bassists in the world. He has won five Grammys for his solo work, was named Bass Player magazine’s Bass Player of the Year three times consecutively, and was included in Rolling Stone magazine’s 2011 Top 10 Greatest Bass Players of All Time list.
To promote his new album, Wooten joined efforts with jam band guitarist Jimmy Herring for a double-headline tour.
Wooten said the idea of a double-disc release occurred to him years ago after he released a double-album. He decided then to release two separate discs on two separate record labels.
“But I found out pretty easily that record labels don’t really want to work together,” he said. “So now that I am my own record label, I decided to do the idea myself. You know, my ideas come faster than I can get them out. So a lot of times I’m working on older ideas.”
Wooten chose to work strictly with female vocalists on one album “just for my joy of working with female vocalists,” he explained. Before recording, he compiled a list of those he would like to work with, including his 15-year-old daughter Kaila, who sang lead on “When U Grow Up.”
“She’s always been a great vocalist since she was a baby,” said Wooten. “But now she’s really turned into an authentic vocalist that can really do anything, and definitely do whatever I ask her to do. And so it was just perfect timing to include her on this project.”
Wooten tapped jazz/R&B/dance music singer Saundra Williams to sing four of the tracks on the album. She, however, is on a tour of her own, so singing with him live is Krystal Peterson, who sings two of the songs on the album.
The Victor Wooten Band, which includes Wooten, features two drummers on the tour. All band members can play bass.
“But the interesting thing that makes this tour so much fun for the four of us is that all of us are playing three or more instruments,” he said. “We rarely play bass at the same time, it is maybe one or two songs. The rest of the time, I’m playing cello or guitar. And so we’re sweeping around a lot throughout the show and sometimes in the middle of a song. Which really, really makes it interesting for the audience and definitely for us.”
Fans speculate as to whether Wooten and Herring will share the stage during the tour. “It’s scheduled and planned as just two separate shows by two bands,” Wooten said. “You know, being a big fan of Jimmy, I’m not going to promise anything, but it’s pretty inevitable that we’ll share the stage at some point.”
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