Victor Wooten

Live in America

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Victor Wooten's fourth solo record is a double-disc package documenting four years on the road with brothers Reggie Wooten (guitar and vocals) and Joseph Wooten (keyboards and vocals), as well as JD Blair (drums and vocals). The Wooten band serves up full-throttle funk, R&B, and pop power ballads, as well as feel-good fusion, often with a dash of hip-hop courtesy of rapper (and guest bassist) MC Divinity. The leader's widely celebrated bass virtuosity is on display throughout, but most explicitly during "Hey Girl," "Tappin' and Thumpin'," "Sacred Silence/The Jam Man," "Me and My Bass Guitar," and "Pretty Little Lady." Disc one begins with a studio-recorded introduction from P-Funk bass legend Bootsy Collins, disc two with a bass duel featuring fusion veteran Marcus Miller. Tributes to other musical heroes (Sly Stone, James Brown, and Jaco Pastorius) crop up during the course of the album's 118 combined minutes. While there's much to be said for their tightness and musicianship, Wooten and company can get bogged down in overly long jams, and some of their live schtick doesn't translate so well on record.

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