Victor Wooten is best known as the monster electric-bass player whose fantastic fret board pyrotechnics helped catapult killer banjo-maverick Bela Fleck and his Flecktones into the national spotlight and Grammy winning popularity.
J.D. Blair, aka “The Groove Regulator,” is a world-class musical chameleon whose drumming and percussion transcends all musical categories. He’s played and/or recorded with contemporary Christian-gospel greats (Yolanda Adams, Take 6), smooth jazz practitioners (Kirk Whalum), funk-masters (Bootsy Collins), soulful indie-rockers (India.Arie), electric-jazz blasters (Mike Stern) and some of country music’s biggest names (Wynonna Judd, Lyle Lovett). However, it was his stint with country-pop superstar Shania Twain that earned him the 2000 Drum! Magazine’s Country Drummer of The Year award.
Last Saturday night at The Egg, sparks of creativity and imagination flew as Wooten and Blair wove a mesmerizing web of musical influences. Funk, classical, jazz, new age, rock, soul, country and just about every other music style was represented as these two master-musicians kept it exciting and fresh for the audience.
And for themselves, too. The delightful looks of shock and awe on their faces confirmed the high degree of improvisation, as they wandered far from the planned set list.
No doubt Wooten and Blair had fun that evening, but so did the audience. The house participated from to time as the collective ‘third band member,’ keeping the rhythm going as a foundation for the other two to create upon.
All throughout the performance, power, grace and humor were the catch words of the night.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Excerpt from Michael Hochanadel’s review at The Daily Gazette: “Their duet thunder throbbed hard and hot, early on, as they reprised such 1990s funk blasts as ‘Me and My Bass Guitar’ and ‘What Did He Say.’ Powerful, pyrotechnic workouts, these were busy with notes slamming and blurring into each other, then dissolving. J.D. sprang up mid-song to hand over his drumsticks to a fan rocking hard in the front row; but that guy was only the most conspicuous of the many chair-dancers charged with the beat. Then Victor rapped an anti-racism, anti-war message, and the show began to warm, flowing through a Santana-like melodic rhapsody, a Vocoder-augmented ‘Wade in the Water’ and the sunsplashed island harmonies and uplifting message of ‘I Saw God Today.’ Victor sang, ‘She looked like you, he looked like me,’ pointing, at the chorus.”