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Victor Wooten & JD Blair Live at House of Blues Dallas

Meet Brad Houser

Having read Victor’s book “The Music Lesson” and attended his camp two weeks previous, I went to HOB with great curiosity to catch the “Two Minds/ One Groove show. Recently I had discovered that the “master of space” drummer featured in the book was indeed JD Blair, so I was quite curious to see the show.

At the beginning Vic announced that there was no set list and no format, a live jam session. He and JD then proceeded to lay down some serious P-Funk type get-down. Very Nice. JD readily revealed himself to be indeed a minimal groove master, with a massive, deep pocket. No extraneous fills, just righteous pulse.

One especially startling feature of the show was Victor’s tremendous dynamic range on bass. From an almost inaudible whisper to a full-on roar, without ever touching a volume control………. it IS in the hands!!! And those hands have mad skills, as we all well know. His solo rendition of “The Lesson” was just ridiculous. What was readily apparent is this:

1) His technique is supremely efficient. No wasted motion. What you are hearing is often 8-10 times what you are seeing. His hands barely move, while a Fourth of July fireworks show is coming out of the speakers.

2) His techniques are somewhat invisible, seamlessly flowing from tap, slap, pluck, hammer, etc., with seemingly no effort, and no stress.

JD was hilarious on the mic, sounding like a character from Fat Albert on Saturday morning. Much banter back and forth between the two of them. His time was perfect, impeccable. Not fill-happy, this guy.

At one point Vic’s daughters Ari and Kaila came out and sang a Miley Cyrus (!) LOL tune with the guys. Also Victor’s son Adam came out and kicked it James Brown funky-drummer style on the kit… These kids range from 6-9 in age. Slammin’.

Apparently these cats have musician friends in every town, so in this locale a guitarist/ vocalist named Shake Anderson came out and hit it with the fellas. Shake is Seriously Funky, and it was revealed that he had been Curtis Mayfield’s musical director for 6 years. ……….. !……!…….! omg.

One high point of the show was Victor’s version of “I Saw God”. Sung through a vocal harmony generator box, Vic sounded like a full- on African choir, over a muscular soca/highlife type thing. Such things can be Really Cheesy in the wrong hands. In this case it was simply BadAss. The show went for almost 3 hours non-stop. There were a lot of bass players in the audience, and even some females.

Victor Wooten. JD Blair. Two Minds. One Groove. Not to be missed.

-BH

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