Inside the Jazz room with the bass player at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival
The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is an annual music festival held in Cape Town, South Africa. The first one was held in 2000 to 2005 and is recognised as the fourth largest jazz festival in the world and the largest jazz festival on the African continent. And the 18 edition its kick off will this March 31st all the way to 1 April 1st 2017
Rewinding to 2016
By Estacio Valoi
Editor Eleonor Osborn
Editor Eleonor Osborn
“If I can get to Mozambique that will make me happy.”
Victor Lemonte Wooten (born September 11, 1964) is an American bass player, composer, author, producer, and recipient of five Grammy Awards.
Wooten has won the "Bass Player of the Year" award from Bass Player magazine three times in a row, and was the first person to win the award more than once. In 2011, he was named #10 in the "Top 10 Bassists of All Time" by Rolling Stone. In addition to a solo career and collaborations with various artists, Wooten has been the bassist for Béla Fleck and the Flecktones since the group's formation in 1988.
In 2008, Wooten joined Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller to record an album. The trio of bassists, under the name SMV, released Thunder in August 2008 and began a supporting tour the same month.
Wooten has also written a novel titled "The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music". On his website he has stated that he is currently writing a sequel and intends to release at least three more books. Wooten also operates his own record label, Vix Records, on which he releases his own music. This is what says the Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
I was not interested on the Wiki but Victor himself. And of course the press stuff and all the organizers from the Cape Town International Jazz Festival were doing their work. In that room from Cape Town hotel, those girls taking care of the press did ‘lock ‘us and our interviewers inside. ‘Hey you have 10,15minute interview. Was not really enough time but good enough in that kind of traffic jam in rushing hours!
But let’s go together Inside the Jazz room with the bass player Victor.
EV: How was it for you, as a bass player to be standing on the same stage as (Marcus Miller) one of the best of the best Bass players?
VW: Thank you. It was amazing. Those guys have been my heroes since I was a child. I met Stanley Clarke first when I was nine years old, so whenever I am with Stanley Clarke I feel like I am nine again. But in this instance I was treated as an equal. So if you can imagine, you know, your heroes whatever you like to do, think of the best people in your field and all of a sudden you get to perform with them as an equal.
For one it’s an honour but you also have to learn how to do it, because I still see myself as a child to them. But they treated me as an equal so it was a great opportunity.
EV: With that in mind - you feeling both alike an equal and a child, how is it for you to be teaching all these kids today through your music?
VW. Sure. I have a lot of experience, I have been playing music for a long time. So to be able to share this experience with younger musicians of any age, but younger musicians who haven’t done it for as long, is a joy, so knowing that I’m going to be teaching, I want to be the best possible, just like with my instrument, I practice my instrument, but also practice teaching and err… (Phone rings) yeah, but I also practice teaching. I want to research teaching. I want to be the best teacher as possible so that when I am working with you or whoever it is, I am giving something beneficial.
I’m giving you something that I’m not just making up you know when you see me on stage, you want to know that I have rehearsed, you want to know that I have practised you want to know that I am pushing the limits. I think a teacher should be doing the same thing.
EV: I can't imagine how it's easy being one of the best bass players.
VW: Well…being one of the best, I don’t look at it that way. It’s like you speak but are you the best? You’re not worried about being the best. You just want to be able to say what you want to say. So musically I just want to express myself, it doesn’t have to be the best, but it’s me.
EV: You want to be better than yourself, and not be better than anyone else. Is it?
VW: Right! I want to be the best me as possible. Right.
EV: Who is behind Wooten, the musician?
VW: Behind me? The musician?
VW: I’m not sure what you mean, but I have ….
EV: The person behind the musician.
VW: Hopefully I am a good person first. A good person that’s expressing myself through music, a good honest person who cares about people but I am using music to express myself. But I do also have a lot of help, my wife, my manager, my tour manager, my band, my friends, there’s a lot of people that help me be who I am.
EV: I mean, looking to how you play, it’s a kind of a mixture of a spiritual side and emotion, what comes in your head when you’re on the stage?
VW: Sure. One of the things that I want to do when I’m the stage is to please the people that put me on the stage, right? I, I don’t have a career without people like you, without people who pay to see me. So I want to please them I want to…
EV: So what occurs to you to do to please them? The way how you change or improvising, for example?
VW: Sure, when it’s all going well, I don’t know what’s in my mind because I am not thinking about it. You’re just expressing. It’s like talking, you’re not thinking of every word, you have an overall goal you know? And so for me when I’m playing live, if things are going well, it’s the same. I’m not really thinking, I’m just enjoying. I can feel the spirit of the audience and I want them to feel mine so we blend together. And it’s all really just about having a great time.
EV: What would you change err, if you look back on your life, what would you change in order to make you different or in order to make the thing which you could have done properly in the past err commit in a better way today, I don’t know if you…?
VW: I mean, I’m not sure. I have to think, I’m not sure what I’d have to change because everything that I have done in the past, good or bad, has made me who I am today. And I like who I am today.
EV: So, what you are trying to say exactly is we have to keep giving opportunities to our kids to our people, you make mistakes because you’re doing something?
VW: Well… (Stammers)… making mistakes is human and humans grow. So mistakes are a part of growth. Because I know I can’t go back and change the past, I don’t worry about it, but I do pay attention to what I do right now because I can change the future. I can’t change the past but I can affect my future, so what I do right now is what’s most important. Changing the past is maybe not possible. I am aware of my past, but what I do today is what is going to affect my future.
EV: Now you are today at the Cape Town Jazz Festival, how does it feel to be here for the first time?
VW: I am happy to be here, at the Cape Town, I’ve been hearing about it for years and I am honoured to be here.
EV: I was with Marcus Miller before he went to Mozambique. I think I left him performing there. I think a month ago, did it ever came to your mind to perform in Mozambique?
VW: I hope so. I want to perform in as many places as possible so if I can get to Mozambique, that will make me happy.
EV: Okay, Thank you.
VW: Thank you.