Review: Victor Wooten comes to Legends, new release disappoints

Meghan Frick

Correction: A previous version of this article did not identify this article as a review. The Appalachian apologizes for the confusion.

Editor’s Note: The following reflects the opinions of the author.

Bassist Victor Wooten, whose recording career spans three decades, has long been considered one of the most technically skilled musicians in recent history.

The five-time Grammy Award winner is set to release “Words and Tones” and “Sword and Stone” in September. Dates for both releases are inconclusive.

The promotional release The Appalachian received from The Victor Wooten Band included seven songs, five from “Words and Tones” and two from “Sword and Stone.”

Wooten still displays his classic skills on both upright and electric bass, providing both a nice background for the rest of the instrumentation and a subtle lead in the mixing.

After a kind tip of the hat to Wooten for his technical proficiency comes a rude awakening when one realizes the overall sound of the music doesn’t reach an equivalent plateau.

When an artist is considered the best in a genre, expectations abound as to what direction should be taken artistically. Wooten is technically incredible, so one expects nothing less than the best.

But the project birthed by The Victor Wooten Band falls short of being heralded as the royal project its leading man is supposed to provide.

“I know that Victor Wooten is technically supposed to be good, but I just hate listening to his music,” junior economics major Jason Capps said. “It’s like solving a math problem trying to listen to a song that he plays on.”

However, technical proficiency doesn’t always guarantee artistry or a sense of the artist thinking, “I actually want to be playing this song right now.”

Wooten and his backing band never leave an instance for the track to breathe, and while the songs rhythmically resolve, there is no sense of feeling displayed by anyone involved in the project as a whole.

Still, some like to go along for the ride and milk as much enjoyment as possible out of Wooten’s music.

“I love what Victor Wooten can do on the bass,” junior electronic media broadcasting major Clay Harris said. “He brings out a sound in his guitar like Hendrix did.”

Wooten’s sound on “Words and Tones” and “Sword and Stone” — The Victor Wooten Band’s first releases as a collective — is in the same vein as previous releases, including his 2008 release “Palmystery.” Here, Wooten slaps the bass as efficiently and proficiently as ever.

Love him or hate him, Wooten performs at Legends Sept. 26. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Story: WILL GREENE, Intern A&E Reporter