Victor Wooten Trio performs at Canopy Club
The Champaign County community had an opportunity this weekend to see renowned multi-genre musician Victor Wooten at the Canopy Club.
Wooten came with the Victor Wooten Trio, which is composed of two other amazing musicians.
Dennis Chambers, a drummer who was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2001 and played in Funkadelic through most of his early career. He has performed with most musicians in the world of jazz fusion music and toured with Carlos Santana.
Bob Francheschini was there as a saxophone player: he has appeared on over 80 albums with artists such as Mike Stern, Paul Simon, Celine Dion, Ricky Martin, Lionel Richie, and many others.
The morning before the show Wooten held a free bass clinic in Normal, Ill., at the Music Shoppe and Pro-Sound Center where he talked about bass and held a raffle for a bass amplifier at the end.
The group’s performance in Urbana for one night was quite the experience.
The show itself opened with a band called Brain Child who are based out of Peoria, Ill. They set the mood of the show as they combined jazz and soul in exciting ways. Then, onto the stage came the Victor Wooten Trio. They were met with an excited crowd cheering them on as they began their first song. The audience was feeling the funk.
During the second song they got a little experimental.
The song they played was one which Wooten described as a tribute to Afro-Cuban music and giving a cheer to Celia Cruz, a fairly prominent artist in the world of Spanish music. Cruz was born in Havana, Cuba, and drew a lot of her musical influences from the small Caribbean island just 90 miles south of Florida. Wooten’s song definitely had those tropical island influences, as well as some influences from American Funk.
The show continued with a few solos from the musicians. They would trade off between playing together and jumping forth with their own skills and talent. Towards the end everyone except Wooten walked off of stage leaving him playing his solo.
The solo was an interesting mix. He used pedals to play back samples of drums while making his bass sound like different instruments. He started to get the audience excited as he played a solo, recording it, and then using it as a loop while playing another solo over it. At the end of this set, he did a fairly intricate performance of setting a backing track loop and then coming in with a new note at the end of the loop and having it record, doing this over and over until you had a huge sound of multiple different bass lines going on in what felt like the final moments of a huge orchestra.
Wooten welcomed the other members back to the stage and let the audience know that it was going to be their last song. The musicians let it all out as they went in on the song.
Wooten did a trick where he spun his bass around himself, simultaneously spinning with it before beginning to end the show.
The audience did not let the show end there, though; after the band walked off the stage the audience clapped and cheered until the trio came back.
The Victor Wooten Trio came back on and went right into the music like they had never left. They played and left nothing but more time with the band to be desired.
Wooten learned to play bass at the age of two and by six was playing in a family band. It is no wonder that his skill and proficiency as a bassist have earned him “Bass Player of the Year” from Bass Player Magazine three times. He was also named among the top 10 bass players in 2011 by Rolling Stone and has won five Grammys.
He has been featured on many albums and has been able to push the world creatively by offering workshops in the cities he goes to on tour and at Wooten Woods, which is right outside of Tennessee and where he runs the Victor Wooten Center for Music and Nature.
It was an overall amazing show, with extremely tight musicians, an engaging audience, and intricate music. If Parkland students ever get the opportunity to see other musicians in the same light, they should definitely take the opportunity; maybe it’ll inspire them to pick up an instrument and be the next Victor Wooten.