Victor Wooten

Yin-Yang

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There's little question that Victor Wooten is an ambitious musician. That was evident from his first two records, but Yin-Yang easily reaches farther than any album he has yet made. Spanning two discs, one instrumental and one vocal, Yin-Yang tries a little bit of everything, all underneath a smooth fusion umbrella. There's a bass showcases, worldbeat fusions, bluegrass jazz, smooth soulful jazz with banjos, full-fledged urban soul, songs based around baby gibberish -- a little bit of everything, all given immaculate, glossy production. That clean production not only makes the record sound accessible, but it makes the eclecticism and unpredictable stylistic fusions sound familiar. Depending on your point of view, that's either a good or a bad thing -- it either means Wooten is welcoming more listeners, or it means that it's not challenging. And that's the strange thing about Yin-Yang -- it's not particularly challenging, yet it is complex and difficult to digest in one sitting. That's largely because there's so much music on the record, but it's also because Wooten's ideas sound better when heard a few cuts at a time. He's a very talented musician and has some great ideas, but a little discipline and editing would make his records more convincing and compelling.

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