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Victor Wooten: Yin-Yang

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Admittedly, what Victor Wooten can do goes well beyond conventional limits of the bass. In fact, in some cases, it has nothing to do with the bass at all. In his eagerness to “sing” melodies on his 4-string electric bass, the extraordinary bassman from Bela Fleck & The Flecktones becomes a saxophonist, a pianist, a guitarist. Stanley Clarke, Alphonso Johnson and Jaco Pastorius pioneered this territory and John Patitucci took it a step further by developing uncannily fluid chops on the 6-string electric bass.

Wooten is a chops monster himself and he certainly gets to strut his stuff on this two-CD set (one instrumental, one vocal). But while he can play the hell out of the bass (check the sheer burn on “Hip Bop” and the ultra-funky “What Crime Is It?” featuring special guest vocalist Bootsy Collins) he seems to have a bigger agenda that transcends his instrument. Wooten is in love with melodies, and it shows. He gushes shamelessly on smooth numbers like “Urban Turban,” “Resolution” and “Joe’s Journey,” a paean to a fallen friend. He revisits Flecktones country on “Zenergy,” featuring a guest spot by Bela on banjo, and ‘sings’ lyrically on “Sacred Place.”

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