My wife, my friend James and I went to see Bela Fleck and the Flecktones at Numbers tonight. While the music was a tad on the odd side, bassist Victor Wooten was something to behold.
Being a bass player, I really wanted the opportunity to see Victor Wooten play tonight. He is one of the finest players ever to pick up the instrument and the Flecktones really offer him a tremendous amount of freedom.
He was just ridiculous. Tapping, slapping, all kinds of ridiculous hand positions and speedy playing…the guy is just a monster. He was everything I expected him to be.
The band, on the other hand, was a little strange. Wooten’s brother, “Future Man,” was the oddest of the bunch. Playing half drums and half “drumitar” (a converted midi instrument with drum sounds), he plays a wildly synchopated style that is often hard to follow.
He also got his own 15-minute solo that not only included the drumitar-drum combination, but also a Bob Marley-ish vocal song accompanied only by his drumitar. My wife and I both commented that it was as if the band had abandonded the audidence with wierd Uncle Future Man.
Everyone seemed a little restless and confused by the whole thing. If that wasn’t enough, Bela finally emerged after a long time and sat on a stool playing a sort of rehersal-room-style jam with Future Man who played a synth that sounded kinda like a banjo.
When they did play as a band, they were terrific, albeit challenging to listen to. Their sax player was awesome and, as I mentioned, Wooten was just phenomenal.
In some ways, the show reminded me of when I saw Allen Holdsworth years ago at Fitzgerald’s. He played a wierd midi guitar and the music was strangely dreamy fusion stuff, but drummer Vinny Colaiuta made up it with his world class musicianship on the drums.
Some of the stuff Wooten did was hard to imagine. It was creative, fun and extrordinarily difficult. I have a lot of admiration for guys with that level of skill. It is fascinating to watch.