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 resumé of guest-artist work and a longstanding collaborative relationship with the innovative Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, makes his debut on Heads Up International with Palmystery. His latest release embraces a range of styles – jazz, funk, pop, soul, gospel, world music and more.
“It doesn’t matter how you go about writing songs,” says 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. 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.”
The set opens with “2 Timers,” a track that bounces back and forth between three-four and four-four time, courtesy of drummers Derico Watson and JD Blair, respectively. “I Saw God” is an intriguing discourse into the who, what, where and why of God, with Wooten delivering a spoken-word narrative over an upbeat African groove that features Richard Bona in the vocal chorus. The highly syncopated “Left, Right, & Center” came from Wooten’s idea of recording a song with three drummers. He enlisted Blair, Dennis Chambers and Will Kennedy on cans, along with B3 player Neal Evans and guitarist Mike Stern. “The Gospel” marries two generations of the Wooten family with the help of a snippet from an old Southern Baptist hymn sung by Wooten’s mother. The closer, “Us 2,” is a quiet, melodic piece with acoustic slide guitar accents courtesy of Keb’ Mo’.