Rachel Calin began playing the bass at the early age of nine, and has since been described as a bassist that “deserves a place in the sun,” and “a lyrical soloist in command of her instrument” by The New York Times. In 1994 she won the Juilliard Concerto Competition and made her concerto debut in Alice Tully hall at Lincoln Center with the Juilliard Orchestra. She has subsequently appeared as soloist with the International Sejong Soloists and the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, and given numerous recitals throughout North America.
As a chamber musician, Miss Calin has appeared in concert throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. She can be heard on NPR’s ‘Performance Today’, both in live and recorded broadcasts. Miss Calin has performed frequently with the New York Philharmonic, Live from Lincoln Center, the Aspen Music Festival and the Mostly Mozart Festival, and has recorded numerous movie and commercial soundtracks. She has given world premieres of works by composers including Lera Auerbach and Mark O’Connor, and performs with many new music ensembles including the New Juilliard Ensemble, Sequitur, the Composers Concordance, and Metropolis Ensemble.
Miss Calin received a BM and MM from The Juilliard School, where she studied with Homer Mensch and Eugene Levinson and was the recipient of an instrument loan from the Karr Foundation. Recent and upcoming projects include a disc of Haydn and Mendelssohn with violinist Gil Shaham on the Canary Classics label with subsequent performances in Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Kaohsiung, and Taipei; a performance of Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet with violinist Itzhak Perlman at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; concerts at Wigmore Hall, Salle Cortot, Santa Fe Chamber Music Series, Kennedy Center, Great Mountains Music Festival, Taipei International Music Festival, Philadelphia Museum of Art Chamber Music Series, The Hopkins Center at Dartmouth, CNN’s American Morning with Paula Zahn, Live From Lincoln Center, and a live broadcast from NPR’s Washington DC studios for Performance Today. Currently on faculty at the Perlman Music Program, Miss Calin performs on a Bolognese double bass crafted by Matteo Minozzi in 1767.
Gerald Clayton was born May 11, 1984 in Utrecht, The Netherlands and moved to the United States at an early age. He graduated from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) in 2002, and in 2006 achieved the degree Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies at the University of Southern California.
Gerald grew up in a musical family and was exposed to a variety of musical styles from a very young age. He studied classical piano with Linda Buck and jazz piano and composition with Shelley Berg, Kenny Barron and Billy Childs.
Gerald was the winner of the 2001 Music Center Spotlight Awards and received the ‘Outstanding Soloist’ Award during the Monterey High School Jazz Competition in 2001 and 2002. He was also selected for the Grammy High School Big Band, comprised of high school students from across the United States. Gerald was presented with the “level 1″ award by the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA) in January of 2002. That summer he was named Presidential Scholar in the Arts and was invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In addition, Gerald was awarded a Music for Youth Foundations scholarship and performed at Steinway Hall in New York City. Later in 2002 he received the Shelley Manne Award for emerging young artists from the Los Angeles Jazz Society. In 2006, Gerald was a winner in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Piano Competition.
Now 24, Gerald has already performed extensively with outstanding musicians in a wide variety of venues. Notable engagements include the performance of a composition for piano and orchestra with the Henry Mancini Orchestra at Royce Hall (August 2002) and Disney Hall (May 2006). The piece, composed by his father, John Clayton, was commissioned by the Henry Mancini Institute. In Spring 2005, Gerald joined pianists Benny Green, Mulgrew Miller and Kenny Barron for a series of duo concerts in Europe. Later the same year, he performed with trumpeter Clark Terry in Switzerland. In 2006, Gerald performed at the Playboy Jazz Festival followed by a week at New York´s Village Vanguard with The Lewis Nash Quintet. Gerald has toured extensively with trumpeter Roy Hargrove since the summer of 2006. He currently lives in New York City, where he often performs with his own and other groups.
Gerald can be heard on “Back in the Swing of Things” with The Clayton Brothers as well as on several tracks of Diana Krall’s recording “From This Moment On.” His first solo CD, “Two Shade”, was released in 2009, and has received a Grammy nomination for ‘best improvised jazz solo.’
John Clayton’s serious study of the double bass began at age 16 when he became a protégé of legendary bassist and teacher, Ray Brown. At age 19, John was the bassist for Henry Mancini’s television series “The Mancini Generation”. He later completed his formal studies at Indiana University, graduating in 1975 with a Bachelor of Music in Double Bass. Touring with Monty Alexander and the Count Basie Orchestra followed. John lived in Europe for more than five years while serving as principal bass in the Amsterdam Philharmonic.
Mr. Clayton has written and arranged music for Diana Krall, DeeDee Bridgewater (including her Grammy award winning CD “Dear Ella”), Natalie Cole, Milt Jackson, Nancy Wilson, Quincy Jones, George Benson, Queen Latifah, Gladys Knight, Dr. John, Regina Carter and others. He has written commissioned works for many ensembles, including the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, the American Jazz Philharmonic, The Iceland Symphony, The Metropole Orchestra, The Carnegie Hall Big Band, The Richmond Symphony, the WDR Orchestra, and the Amsterdam Philharmonic. His stirring arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner” performed by Whitney Houston during the 1990 Super Bowl won him a platinum record. John’s numerous other awards include the Golden Feather Award and the Los Angeles Jazz Society’s composer/Arranger award.
In 2007, John replaced Dr. Lynn Skinner as the Artistic Director for the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival. In November of the same year, the Festival received the Presidential Medal of Arts from President Bush. John has served as Artistic Director of the Port Townsend Jazz Festival since 2003. Before that, he was Artistic Director of Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1999 through 2001. In addition, he has served as Musical Director of numerous jazz festivals including the Sarasota Jazz Festival and the Santa Fe Jazz Party. As Artistic Director of the Vail Jazz Workshop, he participates in choosing talented students from across the nation for an intensive week of learning jazz. Mr. Clayton, renowned for his work teaching and mentoring young musicians, is a long time member of the music faculty at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and a past president of the International Society of Bassists.
John co-leads The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with his brother, saxophonist, Jeff Clayton, and drummer, Jeff Hamilton. John and his brother also share leadership of the Clayton Brothers Quintet. John and Jeff Clayton have been nominated to receive a 2010 Grammy Award for their recent CD release, ‘Brother To Brother’, an ArtistShare project.
Shawn Conley studied with George Wellington, Sr. for the first five years of his life as a bass player. During that time he won a position in the Honolulu Symphony, and both the State and Southwest divisions of the MTNA solo string competition. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, under the tutelage of Paul Ellison. Shawn was awarded a Wagoner Fellowship to study a year in Paris, where he received both performance and teaching diplomas from François Rabbath. Upon returning from Europe, Mr. Conley returned to Rice University to work with Paul Ellison toward his Master of Music degree. In June 2009, he won first place in the International Society of Bassists Scott LaFaro Jazz competition.
Mark Dresser (1952) is an internationally acclaimed bass player, improviser, composer, and interdisciplinary collaborator. A major focus has been extending the sonic and musical possibilities of the double bass through the use of unconventional amplification. A chapter on his extended techniques for contrabass, “A Personal Pedagogy,” appears in the book, Arcana: Musicians on Music (ed. John Zorn, Granary Books, 2000). His playing is documented in over one hundred recordings, including nearly thirty CDs as a soloist, band-leader or co-leader.
Mr. Dresser lived and worked in New York City for 18 years, during which time he recorded and performed with some of the strongest personalities in contemporary music and jazz, including nine years with Anthony Braxton. In 2001 he was nominated for a Grammy. He is currently Professor of Music at University of California, San Diego, and has also been a lecturer at Princeton University, and a faculty member at the New School University and Hampshire College. He serves on the board of directors of the International Society of Bassists and the advisory board of the International Society of Improvised Music.
Paul Ellison, co-principal bass at the Aspen and Grand Teton Festivals, is Professor of Double Bass at Rice University, Shepherd School of Music. In addition, his diverse international activities include chamber music, period instrument performance, and solo and duo performance, as well as workshops and master classes.
Mr. Ellison enjoyed 23 years as principal bass of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, several years as principal double bass of the Santa Fe Opera, and seven years as chair of strings at the University of Southern California.
Regular performances and master classes throughout North American and Europe include those with Da Camera (Houston), Strings in the Mountains (Steamboat Springs, Colorado), Aspen, Festival Domain Forget (Quebec), the Curtis Institute, Yale University, Banff (Canada), the Yehudi Menuhin School (Surrey, England), the Royal College (London), the Royal Northern College (Manchester), the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Festival Flaine de Musique (Flaine, France), Sarasota (Florida), Southern California Resource for Electro-Acoustic Music (Los Angeles), the Grand Teton Festival, and conventions of the International Society of Bassists in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago (Evanston), Austin, and Cincinnati, as well as in England, France, and Germany. Most recently, Ellison was in residence at Australia´s National Academy of Music in Melbourne as a guest artist and faculty member.
Alexander Hanna was born in Bowling Green, Ohio in 1986 and appointed principal double bass of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2008. He followed the musical footsteps of his older brother and sister and was playing piano recitals at age four. Later he began to sing and play cello and double bass among other instruments.
Throughout his teenage years Alex played, composed and experimented with all kinds of music including classical, rock, jazz, blues, and bluegrass. While attending the Interlochen Arts Camp, he performed in a side-by-side concert with the Detroit Symphony. This was a pivotal moment in his decision to become a musician.
Alex made his solo debut at age 14 when he was invited to perform piano and double bass concertos with The Toledo Symphony. He was later invited back to play in their summer music festival, “Music under the Stars.” By the time he reached college, Alex had performed hundreds of recitals as a bassist, pianist, cellist and singer as well as major singing roles in operas and musicals at Bowling Green State University.
In 2004 the Curtis Institute of Music accepted Alex as a double bass student and at that time he decided to focus on classical music. While at Curtis, he studied with Philadelphia Orchestra principal bass, Hal Robinson and renowned soloist Edgar Meyer.
During his conservatory years Alex served as principal bass of the Haddonfield (New Jersey) Symphony and was in constant demand as a substitute with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Symphony.
Alex is an avid traveler and for the past three summers has enjoyed playing with the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Verbier, Switzerland and on tour in the USA, Europe, Asia and Australia. He also has spent summers as a fellow at Tanglewood where he performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and was awarded the Maurice Schwartz Prize.
In March 2008, Alex participated and performed in the Hawaii Contrabass Festival in Honolulu and a few weeks later won the position of principal bass in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
In 2009 he performed the contrabass solo in Mozart’s Per questa bella mano with Richard Zuch and the Mozart Chamber Orchestra in Wayne, Pennsylvania.
Alex lives in Royal Oak, Michigan and also pursues cycling, running and swimming.
Christian Laborie began working full-time as a luthier in 1976 during a surge of interest in the revival of early music performance practice and ancient folk music.
After visiting many European museums with ancient musical instruments, making tracings, and taking careful measurements, he made several copies of important historical instruments including violas da gamba and hurdy gurdies.
In 1984, Laborie began double bass studies with Philippe Guingouain at the Conservatory of Music and Dance in Romans, France. His passion for playing led him to restore some instruments, and he soon found himself creating and building new models.
Laborie met François Rabbath in 1991 and this was a turning point in his career. Maître Rabbath’s precise requirements, high standards of excellence, and his insights and collaboration with respect to resonance and set-up pushed the young luthier’s work to new heights and helped earn him international acclaim.
Continued collaboration with Rabbath and others generated several important innovations. Among them is the angled endpin in a special conical hole near the back edge of the bass, now used worldwide and known as The Laborie-Rabbath Endpin.
Christian Laborie produces contrabasses of renowned high quality based on a variety of styles, including a French model after Quenoil, several models inspired by Italian masters such as Piatellini, Ceruti and Testore, as well as a violone in G and a Viennese double bass in the style of Leidolff.
In 1999 Laborie received a Special Achievement Award from the International Society of Bassists. In addition to building and repairing instruments in his Varacieux, France atelier, he appears internationally as a presenter of workshops and lectures about his work.
Kurt Muroki, a native of Maui, Hawaii, began his musical studies on the violin at age six and went on to perform concerti with the Honolulu Symphony and the Maui Symphony. He began on double bass at age 13 and entered the Juilliard School of Music at 17 to study with his teacher and mentor Homer Mensch. At 21 Kurt joined the internationally renowned Sejong Soloists under ICM Management.
Since then, Mr. Muroki has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The Jupiter Chamber Players, Concertante Chamber Players, Speculum Musicae, “Great Performers” series at Lincoln Center, Ensemble Sospeso, Sequitur, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Tokyo Opera Nomori, New York City Ballet, Ensemble 21 at IRCAM, 92nd St. Y, and Bargemusic and festivals including Marlboro Music Festival, Festival L’Autonne at IRCAM, and Saito Kinen to name a few.
Mr. Muroki has won numerous competitions including 1st prize in the Aspen Music Festival double bass competition, and was the first bassist to win the New World Symphony concerto competition and the Honolulu Symphony Young Artists competition. As a soloist and chamber musician, he has collaborated with members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Tokyo, and Orion quartets, Ensemble Wien-Berlin, Jaime Laredo, Lynn Harrell, Maurice Bourgue, Toru Takemitsu, Peter Schickele, John Zorn, and Brian Ferneyhough among others, and has performed concerto tours throughout Asia and the United States.
Kurt is also active as a studio musician, playing movies, commercials, popular, and classical recordings with titles including the Oscar winning film “The Departed”, “The Good Shepherd”, “Hitch”, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”, “The Manchurian Candidate”, “Roger Daltrey Sings Pete Townshend” – The Who, “Halcyon Days” – Bruce Hornsby.
Kurt Muroki currently teaches double bass at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, The Juilliard School, Stony Brook University, the New Jersey City University and the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University. He plays a double bass once owned by Domenico Dragonetti and attributed to Nicolo Amati circa 1665.
Thomas Osborne is assistant professor of composition and theory at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa where he is director of the Contemporary Music Ensemble. His music has been performed by ensembles across the United States, including the American Composers Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, L.A. Sound Circle, Rice University’s Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra, USC’s Thornton Symphony and Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Duquesne University Contemporary Ensemble, and the New England Philharmonic. He has received degrees from Indiana University, Rice University, and the University of Southern California, studying composition with Edward Applebaum, Claude Baker, Donald Crockett, Don Freund, and Stephen Hartke. His works have received numerous awards, including a BMI Student Composer Award, the USC Jimmy McHugh composition prize, and an award in the American Composer Forum’s American Composers Competition.
Osborne’s works have been given premieres in major venues, including the T’ang Quartet’s premiere of Furioso: Vendetta for String Quintet at Tanglewood in 2004, performances by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the New York Youth Symphony’s premiere of The Nostalgia of the Infinite in Carnegie Hall, and the Pacific Symphony’s performances of The Burning Music in Segerstrom Hall. Current projects include a work for marimba and percussion for Yuri Inoo and Yuko Yoshikawa.
For more information about Thomas Osborne, visit http://www.thomas-osborne.com/
Born in Aleppo, Syria into a musical family of six boys and three girls, François Rabbath discovered the double bass at age 13 when one of his brothers brought an instrument home and allowed him to experiment with it. When the family moved to Beirut, Lebanon he found an old copy of Edouard Nanny’s Contrabass Method in a tailor shop and with some difficulty, since he read neither music nor French, began to teach himself.
After nine years of work in Beirut, François had saved enough money to move to Paris for a year. He was eager to go to the Paris Conservatory and meet Professor Nanny. Upon arriving at the Conservatory he was disappointed to learn that Nanny had died in 1947. He was also told that auditions would be held in three days and that he would never have enough time to learn the required pieces. He asked for the music anyway and three days later finished first among the applicants. However, Rabbath’s stay at the Conservatory was brief.
In Paris, François earned his living accompanying Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour, Gilbert Bécaud, Michel Legrand and others. In 1963 he made his first of many solo recordings, Bass Ball. Although never advertised or promoted, the Phillips album became one of the most sought after recordings of its time.
From1964 Rabbath became active composing music for film and theater and also began concertizing as a soloist, first in France, then throughout Europe. He made his American debut at Carnegie Hall in 1975.
In 1978 Rabbath met the American composer and double bassist Frank Proto. A close friendship quickly developed and resulted in numerous successful collaborations including Concerto No. 2 for Double Bass and Orchestra, premiered by the Cincinnati Symphony in 1981; Fantasy for Double Bass and Orchestra, premiered in Houston in 1983; and Carmen Fantasy, originally for double bass and piano, premiered in 1991 with the composer at the piano and orchestrated by Proto in 1992. March 2002, 2nd Biennial Hawaii Contrabass Festival saw the world premiere of Nine Variations on Paganini, with the Honolulu Symphony, Samuel Wong conducting.
Throughout the years François Rabbath has made more than 160 recordings. Multi Bass ’70, his sequel to Bass Ball, is still available, as is Live Around the World, a collection of his own compositions recorded live in concert. The original Carmen Fantasy for Double Bass and Piano with the composer at the piano, was recorded recently along with Rabbath’s own Concerto NO. 3 and Two Miniatures–Carmen!
François Rabbath’s contribution to double bass playing has been compared with that of Paganini to the violin. His revolutionary technique has greatly facilitated the playing of difficult passages and makes it possible for young people to begin studies at a much earlier age. In addition, the contrabass has gained prominent stature as a solo instrument on the concert stage. François Rabbath and George Wellington, Sr. co-founded the Hawaii Contrabass Festival in 2000.
Sprocket Royer has been performing on the bass for more than thirty years, playing classical, jazz, blues, country, klezmer, Balkan and middle eastern music. His playing can be heard on a number of recordings including ones with Tommy Tucker, Michael Moore, Andy Statman and Yale Strom.
Sprocket has worked at David Gage String Instruments for over twenty years. As a master luthier at the workshop in New York City, he has the opportunity to work on double basses and cellos from around the world. He has been overheard saying more than once that he learned his craft in part because of his love of the instruments, and in part out of self-defense!
George Rubino has been making violin, viola, cello, and double bass bows for over thirty years. He studied bow making with William Salchow and was Salchow’s teaching assistant at the University of New Hampshire Violin Institute for many years. Mr. Rubino was appointed as a master instructor at UNH in 1988 and continues to be on the teaching staff for the UNH program. He has given lectures and conducted workshops on bow making and bow playability throughout North America, Europe and Australia. George Rubino bows are used by many of the world’s finest players and are renowned for their exceptional playability and craftsmanship.
Mr. Rubino studied double bass at The New England Conservatory of Music with Leslie “Tiny” Martin and William Rhein of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. For 22 years George Rubino taught double bass at Dartmouth College and he is presently on the faculty at Bates College. He continues to perform with the Portland Maine Symphony Orchestra and other freelance groups in Northern New England.
Bass, Boston Symphony Orchestra Eleanor L. and Levin H. Campbell chair, fully funded in perpetuity
Todd Seeber joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s double bass section in May 1988. From January 1986 until he joined the BSO, he was principal bass of the Buffalo Philharmonic, which he joined when he was twenty and with which he appeared frequently as a soloist. Before joining the Buffalo Philharmonic, he was assistant principal bass of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra and of the Handel and Haydn Society Orchestra. Born in Spokane, Washington, Mr. Seeber grew up in Canada, Hawaii, and Australia. He began playing the double bass at age eleven with George Wellington and attended high school in Portland, Oregon, where he studied with Herman Jobelmann. A Fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center in 1983 and 1984, he won first prize in the American String Teachers National Solo Competition in 1983 and was a 1984 winner of the Boston University Concerto–Aria Competition. In May 1985 he graduated from Boston University, where he studied with Henry Portnoi. Mr. Seeber currently teaches at the New England Conservatory of Music, at Boston University’s School for the Arts, at the Tanglewood Music Center, and at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.
Benjamin D. Taylor (b. 1983) is an active composer of contemporary art music and avante garde jazz. Trained as a trumpet player and pianist, he performs with and writes music for a variety of chamber ensembles, jazz combos and big bands, wind bands, choirs, and experimental ensembles. Much of Mr. Taylor’s recent music includes electronic elements – from prerecorded sounds to live, interactive electronics using Max/MSP.
Mr. Taylor received his Bachelor of Music in music composition from Brigham Young University in 2009 and is currently studying music composition at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Mr. Taylor’s work as a composer has been supported by numerous grants from the Laycock Center for Creative Collaboration in the Arts and the BYU Office of Research and Creative Activities. His prizes and honors include First Place Co-winner of the 2008 International Society of Bassist’s Composition Competition (media division) and First Place Winner of the 2008 Society of Composers Inc (SCI) Region VII Student Composition Competition.
Last summer, BYU’s premiere jazz big band, Synthesis, commissioned Mr. Taylor to compose two charts for their tour of England and Scotland. Synthesis also professionally recorded three of his charts under the Tantara Records label on a CD entitled High Road (TCD-0309HRD).
Mr. Taylor’s composition “FE26″ has been selected for performance at the 2010 conference of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS). The performance will take place April 8, 2010 in St. Cloud, MN. Currently, Ben is working on a commission for the Honolulu based ensemble, Terra Nova. The trio consisting of soprano voice, double bass and percussion will premiere “7 Million Results (in 0.19 seconds)” at the 6th Biennial Hawaii Contrabass Festival in March 2010.
Ben resides in Bowling Green, Ohio with his wife Allyson and son Jack. In addition to all things musical, he enjoys ultimate frisbee, snowboarding, aggressive inline skating, drawing, reading, cooking, and being with family.
Andrea Torres began studying ballet at age 10 in her native Brazil. After moving to Hawai’i she began exploring Brazilian and African styles, and later performed contemporary dance as a member of Iona Pear Dance Theatre (now Iona Contemporary Dance) and Tau Dance Theatre.
Torres became known as an aerialist for her role as the original Hina in Maui’s “‘Ulalena”, where she danced for eight years. As a performer she is admired for her lyricism and intense focus. Ms. Torres founded the Samadhi Hawaii dance group in 2005 and currently teaches aerial and body work at the Honolulu studio.
As an engineer in New York, George Wellington, Jr. regularly recorded many of the world’s most distinguished artists with groups such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The World Music Institute, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Amsterdam Concertgebau and the New Jersey Chamber Music Society.
In addition to his father, George Wellington, Sr., George blames Murray Grodner, Barry Green and Larry Angell for his knowing how to play the double bass. He has performed as a bassist with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Colorado Festival Orchestra, the Colorado Philharmonic, the Honolulu Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and other orchestra and chamber formations.
Victor Wooten is an innovator, composer, arranger, lecturer, producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. He is a skilled naturalist and teacher, a published author, a magician, husband and father of four, and a five-time Grammy award winner. Known for his solo recordings and tours and as a member of the Grammy-winning super group, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, has won most every major award given to a bass guitarist. He was voted Bassist of the year by Bass Player Magazine three times and is the only person to have won the award more than once.
The youngest of five brothers in a military family, Victor began playing music very early in life. His older brothers all played and sang and Victor began his musical journey under the tutelage of his oldest brother Regi. Realizing that the family band would be complete if they had a bass player, ten-year-old Regi began showing two-year-old Victor how to play. By the time he was 3, Victor was performing neighborhood concerts with his brothers in the front yard of their home in Hawaii. At age six, he was touring with his brothers as the opening band for soul legend Curtis Mayfield. After living a few years in Sacramento, CA the family moved east where the Wooten Brothers continued to hone their skills playing countless clubs and concerts along the east coast.
By the early ’80s, now living in Newport News, Virginia, the brothers became mainstays at Busch Gardens theme park in nearby Williamsburg. Victor was hired as a bluegrass fiddler after older brother, Roy, convinced Busch Gardens administrators that Victor could play. “I remember getting a phone call from Roy. He told me that he’d gotten me a job playing fiddle. I’d never played fiddle in my life. Roy asked me if I thought that I could learn to do it. I said, ‘yeah.’ So, I borrowed a violin from my high school and learned a few fiddle tunes. The people at Busch never knew. I worked there in the country show for many years.”
While working in the theme park Victor and his brothers made connections with musicians in Nashville and New York. In 1988 Victor moved to Nashville, where he worked with singer Jonell Mosser and met New Grass Revival banjo ace Béla Fleck. Later that same year, Fleck enlisted Vic, his brother Roy (a.k.a. Future Man) and harmonica-playing keyboardist Howard Levy to perform with him, marking the birth of Flecktones. After three highly successful albums, Levy departed in 1993. The new trio format enabled Victor to develop and display a staggering array of fingerboard skills that turned him into a bass hero of epic proportions and helped earn the band their first Grammy.
With the Flecktones in full flight, Victor set his sights on a solo career, first forming Bass Extremes with Steve Bailey, and finally releasing his critically-acclaimed and ground-breaking solo debut, A Show of Hands on Compass Records in 1996.
Victor’s uncanny skills and growing popularity lead to collaborations with artists such as Branford Marsalis, Mike Stern, Bruce Hornsby, Chick Corea, Dave Matthews, Prince, Keb Mo, Gov’t Mule, Susan Tedeschi, Vital Tech Tones (with Scott Henderson and Steve Smith), the Jaco Pastorius Word Of Mouth Big Band, as well as the soundtrack of the Disney film Country Bears.
In 2005 Victor revisited his solo side with the release of Soul Circus (Vanguard Records). His latest solo work, Palmystery (Heads Up Records), showcases a wide array of playing and writing skills. Victor also spearheaded the idea for the super group SMV (Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten). Their new release, Thunder (Heads Up Records), and the Thunder tour have received wide international acclaim.
Victor Wooten’s Bass/Nature Camp, now in its tenth year, has helped hundreds of musicians of all ages from all corners of the world. The camp’s recent move to its own location, Wooten Woods will provide even more opportunities for Wooten and his staff to share their valuable experiences with others.