Anyone who knows anything about Victor Wooten knows that he's one of those rare souls: he gains a rep for playing the bass. Soul Circus, however, isn't just an extravaganza for bass players. Wooten, as it turns out, is also a heck of a writer and, as the listener will learn on the first track, a fine singer. The unusual first track, "Victa," is a funky, soulful hymn in praise of -- who else -- Wooten himself, while "Bass Tribute" offers accolades to those who've come before him. If the subject matter sounds a bit strange, the confident delivery, understated humor, and fine songwriting make it all work. Soul Circus' production is a nice merger of keyboards, drums, lots of bass, and multiple voices. While this combination and Wooten's production does provide a blueprint sound for the album, it's never predictable. "Back to India," for example, combines soul and sitar for an unusual but winning mixture. There are other oddities like "Cell Phone," complete with dialer effects, spiritually tinged material like "Prayer" and "Back to India," and songs about the power of love such as "Can't Hide Love." Overall, Soul Circus has the adventurous, confident feel of an old Sly Stone album while still being completely of its time. It's also certain that the album will convince listeners that Wooten, while still a fine bass player, has many talents.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.