© 2023 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Victor Wooten: The 'Palmystery' of Deft Fingers

There was a time when jazz was thought to be the devil's music. Today, another jazz virtuoso is using the music to explore spirituality and devotion to God.

Victor Wooten is best known for his work in the bluegrass-jazz fusion band Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. But for many, Wooten himself is considered the modern messiah of the electric bass guitar.

His latest solo album, Palmystery, inquires into spirituality and mysticism on tracks such as "I Saw God." Wooten tried to describe what the title of the CD meant, without giving too much away.

"It's a question that I don't always like to answer, because then the mystery's over," he says. "But I like to also say that life is a mystery, and life is also in the palm of your hand. So that kind of gives a little insight into the title. But I will say that the title is broader than that, and is open to your own interpretation."

Wooten brought in his bass for a performance and conversation with Andrea Seabrook. He spoke about and demonstrated his prodigious technique, which he says comes in part from his musically talented family.

"I'm the youngest of five brothers — all my brothers play," says Wooten. "And in learning from them, I was just always inspired. I think like any kid with their older brother or something — you want to be like them. So a lot of the techniques come from being a little kid trying to imitate my brothers."

On Palmystery, Wooten gets to flex his compositional chops, too, mixing gospel and R&B elements into his music. Though he became known for his soloing with Bela Fleck, he says that he most enjoys coming up with grooves for his songs.

"My favorite thing to do is just play, I guess, what you might call 'normal' bass lines," Wooten says. "Because bass by its nature is a supportive instrument; our goal is to lay down a bass line, you might say, that other people can stand upon and groove on."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.