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Am I alone in thinking Victor Wooten to be highly overrated as a SOLO player?


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I've tried time and time again to listen to some of Wooten's solo stuff, and whilst I appreciate the technicality of it, it just seems that it's over-played, over-hyped and generally not that 'groovy'.

 

Take his version of Amazing Grace (it's on YT). Brilliant technical ability, but the fact is that you could easily strip away half the notes played. It sounds messy and overdone to my worship-music playing self.

 

I LOVE Bela and the Flecktones and his playing in the band, but to me he is NOT a solo player. He makes up for souless playing with streams of notes and fast playing.

 

Am I alone?

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I've tried time and time again to listen to some of Wooten's solo stuff, and whilst I appreciate the technicality of it, it just seems that it's over-played, over-hyped and generally not that 'groovy'.


Take his version of Amazing Grace (it's on YT). Brilliant technical ability, but the fact is that you could easily strip away half the notes played. It sounds messy and overdone to my worship-music playing self.


I LOVE Bela and the Flecktones and his playing in the band, but to me he is NOT a solo player. He makes up for souless playing with streams of notes and fast playing.


Am I alone?

No.

 

I feel almost exactly the same way about Wooten.

 

He's a great player though, there's no doubt about that.

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I'm a big Victor Wooten fan, and can understand your feelings towards his playing, but the same things can be said about a lot of musicians. I love the Flecktones, but there's not a single one of them that doesn't "overplay" at times.

 

If you had the ability to add a wanktastic flurry of notes every now and then, wouldn't you do it? I know I would. To me it'd be like owning a Ferrari and never driving it over the speed limit. The temptation would be too hard to resist.

 

I think Vic plays some of the best, solid, most flowing, walking basslines out there when he's playing with a group, but I've yet to hear someone complain. No one ever says "I like the guy's playing, but his lines were just too simple. He could have easily played 32 notes per bar, but he only played 4."

 

He's one of those bassists that other bassists seem to either love or hate, but I don't think it's right to call him overrated.

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I'm a big Victor Wooten fan, and can understand your feelings towards his playing, but the same things can be said about a lot of musicians. I love the Flecktones, but there's not a single one of them that doesn't "overplay" at times.


If you had the ability to add a wanktastic flurry of notes every now and then, wouldn't you do it? I know I would. To me it'd be like owning a Ferrari and never driving it over the speed limit. The temptation would be too hard to resist.


I think Vic plays some of the best, solid, most flowing, walking basslines out there when he's playing with a group, but I've yet to hear someone complain. No one ever says "I like the guy's playing, but his lines were just too simple. He could have easily played 32 notes per bar, but he only played 4."


He's one of those bassists that other bassists seem to either love or hate, but I don't think it's right to call him overrated.

That's all good - just realize that at the end of the day nobody gives a shit about solo bass or generally finds it musical other than bass players.

 

Stanley Clarke got normal people interested in solo bass, but I think that was more his image and stature in the fusion world - a really unique time in music that will probably not be repeated any time soon.

 

You know - cats are wired to hear upper midrange frequencies - that's what they enjoy.

 

Humans are wired to hear midrange frequencies.

 

Except for bass players - they just hear things differently than everybody else, and sometimes they actually fool themselves into thinking their excursions actually invoke emotional responses other than anger in the audience. :lol:

 

Like they say: don't stop drumming, because that means the bass solo begins. :bor: :poke:

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I actually really like Vic's "Amazing Grace." Generally, I'm not that interested in his solo stuff. I've seen him do some really cool improvised grooves, but I don't have any recordings that really make me say "I want to do this." His work as a band member is top-notch, in any band.

 

The only bassist that has consistently played solo music that I really like is Michael Manring.

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Stanley Clarke suffers from the delusion that he is Stanley Clarke.

That's all good - just realize that at the end of the day nobody gives a shit about solo bass or generally finds it musical other than bass players.


Stanley Clarke got normal people interested in solo bass, but I think that was more his image and stature in the fusion world - a really unique time in music that will probably not be repeated any time soon.


You know - cats are wired to hear upper midrange frequencies - that's what they enjoy.


Humans are wired to hear midrange frequencies.


Except for bass players - they just hear things differently than everybody else, and sometimes they actually fool themselves into thinking their excursions actually invoke emotional responses other than anger in the audience.
:lol:

Like they say: don't stop drumming, because that means the bass solo begins.
:bor:
:poke:

I saw him with JeanLuc Ponty a few years ago. THe Ponty band was far more interesting. Clarke closed out the show by performing an acoustic bass solo. My wife said "It sounds like he's practicing scales or something", and I was inclined to agree. I'm very much into instrumental playing and expression.... I didn't hear any music in that solo.

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I saw the SMV show last year. Stanley, Marcus, and Victor, all on one stage!

Wank fest?

Yes.

Great?

Hell yeah!

Every-day music?

Not at all.

 

All three had periods where their playing showed incredible musical feel and soul. And all three had periods where they were just trying to out-wank the guy next to them. At times, it really did seem like you were in a recital or workshop listening to nothing but blazing technique.

 

All in all I was incredibly impressed, with both their instrumental skills, and their musical soulfulness. However, I will fully agree I like them better in bands. The exception maybe being listening to Marcus on "Tales".

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I'm a big Victor Wooten fan, and can understand your feelings towards his playing, but the same things can be said about a lot of musicians. I love the Flecktones, but there's not a single one of them that doesn't "overplay" at times.

 

The Flecktones as a band are a highly technically able band. What might seem like overplaying in isolation fits into the band perfectly.

 

If you had the ability to add a wanktastic flurry of notes every now and then, wouldn't you do it? I know I would. To me it'd be like owning a Ferrari and never driving it over the speed limit. The temptation would be too hard to resist.

 

No, I wouldn't add flurries of notes simply because it adds nothing to the music.

 

It could be just the type of musician I am, but I believe that every note of a song (on any instrument) should be there for a reason.

 

Take Mark King of Level 42. To me he's the height of what good bassplaying is, and one of the reasons I like him is because all the notes he plays are adding something to the song. The slap-bass might not be to everyone's taste, but in terms of what he's playing it's pretty restrained.

 

As for the Ferrari example, I'll say this: driving it over the speed limit might be fun for you, but it's mightly pointless from the viewer's point of view.

 

I think Vic plays some of the best, solid, most flowing, walking basslines out there when he's playing with a group, but I've yet to hear someone complain. No one ever says "I like the guy's playing, but his lines were just too simple. He could have easily played 32 notes per bar, but he only played 4."

 

Saying someone's basslines are too simple? I do that all the time...although it might have something to do with the music I listen to (a mix of jazz-funk and progressive rock) and also that I'm a jazz player myself.

 

He's one of those bassists that other bassists seem to either love or hate, but I don't think it's right to call him overrated.

 

He's a band player trying to solo. There are far better soloists out there and few better band players out there.

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I've tried time and time again to listen to some of Wooten's solo stuff, and whilst I appreciate the technicality of it, it just seems that it's over-played, over-hyped and generally not that 'groovy'.


?

 

CqHs4pGJXBA

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No.


I feel almost exactly the same way about Wooten.


He's a great player though, there's no doubt about that.

 

Ditto!

 

I spent ALOT of time working with kids in the high school jazz band when my kids were involved. My son played bass and sax, one daughter played drums/percussion and the other clarinet.

 

The problem as I saw it was that kids in high school jazz bands are encouraged to "solo" and, they see him as THE player to emulate because of his solo work. They never really learn how to lock in with the drummer and play "in the pocket".

 

As a result, everything gets overplayed. They learn LOADS of riffs and scales but struggle with finding their place in a song outside of the jazz environment.

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Here's my analogy for Victor Wooten:

 

Remember how Hansel described Sting in the movie Zoolander?

 

Hansel: "Sting would be another person who's a hero. The music that he's created over the years - I don't really listen to it. But the fact that he's making it, I respect that."

 

I bought Victor Wooten's albums What Did He Say?[/]. I made it through about three or four tracks, and then I got bored. I know it's awesome, and I'll never be able to it, but whatever. Later, I decided to give his stuff another chance... I bought Palmystery... again, not interested.

 

I guess I just don't like "busy" music with.. how did Emperor Joseph II put it in the movie Amadeus? .... oh yeah... "too many notes."

 

What can I say, I'm a man of simple tastes.....

 

;)

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There is a lot of music that is technically impressive but not fun to listen to.

 

I admire Wooten's skill, but I'll concede he's not the most compelling soloist.

 

Christian McBride is a bassist who can solo compellingly. On electric or acoustic, his solos are very melodic.

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  • 9 years later...
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I know these posts are kind of old but I'm going to give my two cents... I kind of agree about Wooten he's technically very sound but I don't found find his music to be that compelling... I disagree with all the people criticizing Stanley Clarke the greatest concert I ever saw was him playing with Return to Forever in 1982 they got five standing ovations people were throwing flowers on the stage and I had never seen anything like it, and he was by far out of all the players in return to a forever the most compelling and that includes Chick Corea.... I think all the people who criticize bass players as not being Musical either have that Dave Chappelle bias that white people have for guitar players or whatever... I'd like to know how many people are on this site are black Or Hispanic... As an African American male I love great bass players and drummers so I think there's a cultural aspect to this criticism as well a lot of times we just look at music differently

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On 1/1/2020 at 10:42 AM, Sheldon graves said:

I know these posts are kind of old but I'm going to give my two cents... I kind of agree about Wooten he's technically very sound but I don't found find his music to be that compelling... I disagree with all the people criticizing Stanley Clarke the greatest concert I ever saw was him playing with Return to Forever in 1982 they got five standing ovations people were throwing flowers on the stage and I had never seen anything like it, and he was by far out of all the players in return to a forever the most compelling and that includes Chick Corea.... I think all the people who criticize bass players as not being Musical either have that Dave Chappelle bias that white people have for guitar players or whatever... I'd like to know how many people are on this site are black Or Hispanic... As an African American male I love great bass players and drummers so I think there's a cultural aspect to this criticism as well a lot of times we just look at music differently

But again, that was Victor in a band context.

Personally, I'm not familiar enough with Wooten's solo work to have an informed opinion on how musical it is or isn't.

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Victor is a victim of his own incredible skill. Anyone that's listened to his work with Bela Fleck knows that he can play slow and tastefully, but I think the clinics and his reputation as a super technician have led to over-playing. I also think people like him can get bored, like a caged tiger. Why play 1 great note when you can spray slapped 16th notes?

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Personally I look upon listening to solo bass like watching a chimpanzee smoking a cigarette - novel but of limited interest. As the previous post says I much prefer listening to these guys playing slowly and tastefully. I'm really digging Joe Osborne at the moment - when he "steps in front" it's not a bunch of whankada whankada ...

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