Five-time Grammy Award winner Vic Wooten might have been born in the Pacific Northwest, but he grew up all over the world while his father served in the Air Force.
Learning to play bass came naturally, as one of his four musical older brothers taught him how to play when he was 2. He also learned to play the cello while in high school and occasionally still plays it when performing with Béla Fleck & the Flecktones.
And though performing music is what he’s known for, he also loves to offer summer music camps to budding musicians. Wooten will visit the Tri-Cities on Dec. 12-13 for concerts and a workshop at Hanford High School in Richland.
The concerts start at 7 p.m. Dec. 12-13 in the auditorium at Hanford High, 450 Hanford Ave., off George Washington Way. Admission is $15. Tickets in advance at Ted Brown Music on North Columbia Center Boulevard or Adventures Underground in the Uptown Shopping Center in Richland.
The music clinic is at 1 p.m. Dec. 13 in the high school’s band room. It’s open to all ages and is for anyone who is interested in the bass. Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.
Wooten’s visit was made possible by the long-time friendship of Hanford High music teacher Chris Newbury and Wooten’s drummer Derico Watson.
“Derico has been our guest artist here two or three times,” Newbury said. “I’ve known about Victor Wooten since I was in high school when he came through town (Bozeman, Mont.) with Béla Fleck & the Flecktones. That was the first time I ever saw him play live, and it was amazing. I met Derico a couple years later in Missoula, and as our friendship developed, I got to meet Victor at shows.”
Last May, the school was able to arrange to have Wooten conduct a clinic that drew about 200 people from as far away as Spokane.
“After that clinic, I asked Vic if he’d like to come, and so here we are,” Newbury said. “And this time he’ll perform two concerts.”
But music isn’t Wooten’s only love. He’s a husband, a father of four, a skilled naturalist and teacher, a published author, a magician and an acrobat, he says on his website.
He’s won just about every major award given to a bass guitarist including Bassist of the Year in Bass Player Magazine's readers poll three times. And Rolling Stone Magazine voted Wooten one of the top 10 bassists of all time in 2011.
While playing with his brothers, Wooten earned the nickname “the 8-year-old Bass Ace” and has played on stage with War, Ramsey Lewis, The Temptations and Stephanie Mills. He has recorded with Branford Marsalis, Prince, India Arie, Dave Matthews Band, Chick Corea, Bruce Hornsby and the legendary Morroccan group Nass El Ghiwane. Wooten has earned five Grammys between 1996 and 2008 with Bela Fleck.
Wooten describes his impressive musical life quite simply: “I was born at the right place and the right time to a wonderful family.”