“Music as a Language”- Victor Wooten

Victor Wooten has been a constant in my musical life. I remember ‘Me Da’ moving heaven and earth to get us to a Bela Fleck and the Flecktones concert at the local music university. I was still a bit too young to appreciate the total artistry in front of me, but the approachability of their music, and my Da pointing out the finer points of what was happening on stage helped me walk out of that concert with a better grasp of what I had seen.

A few years later, I was on my way to music school and Victor’s name as a solo artist was everywhere. He had just finished the Yin-Yang tour and the album of the same name was EVERYWHERE.

While the days of walking down the dorm hallway and hearing the same album pouring out of each room were long gone, Victor was nearly omnipresent. Mr Wooten had made an impression on all of us fledgling music students.  He was right on that line classical, jazz, folk, fusion that was high brow enough for the elitists but still approachable for everyone.  His name was tossed around by the hip kids who either did, or more likely wanted to show, that they were still in touch with the ‘people’s music.’ 

It actually took a little while to connect Victor of Yin-Yang fame with with the “awesome bassist guy” I had seen at Bela Fleck’s show. (To my credit, I was a saxophonist and had spent the concert trying to mind meld with Jeff Coffin).

At any rate, Victor kept popping up again here and there at various times throughout my musical career. It always seemed to coincide with (unbeknownst to me at the time) career highlight moments.

So, two lessons. Firstly, get thee to as much Victor Wooten as ye can. He’s got a lovely book called The Music Lesson, a bunch of albums, and a burgeoning Tedtalk/online lecture series. If there is ever a guy who can show you “how to walk the path” it’s him.

Second, pay attention to who floats in and out of your life and when. The ancient Romans took auguries before important events as a way of trying to predict how things would turn out. While studying the flight paths of birds as a way of predicting the future is a bit out there, I do think we can take ‘auguries of our now.’

We all have those folks who pop up here and there. Look hard, maybe it’s the universe telling you something.

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