Anyone who thought bass players are all frustrated guitarists resigned to a minimal band role had their minds changed after Victor Wooten’s sold-out concert at the OK theatre Oct. 2.
Wooten, one of the world’s finest bassists, set the OK Theatre audience on its collective ear with the performance of his fiery trio that included drummer Dennis Chambers and saxophonist Bob Franceschini.
Much of the audience spent the majority of the night dancing in front of the stage as the band played its patented, high-energy brand of jazz. Many audience members noted they had no idea that the bass could be used as a lead instrument in a band.
Wooten showrf the audience how much the bass has to offer in terms of musicality, even playing what appeared to be a hollowbody bass with a cello bow.
While Wooten played mostly originals, he often threw in a bass line from a pop or rock classic to keep the audience on its toes. Nearly all the songs were instrumentals, although Wooten sang with a fine baritone voice reminiscent of soul singer Lou Rawls on one number.
Both Chambers and Franseschini received ample opportunity to display mastery of their instruments as well. Wooten also complimented the audience on its enthusiasm and the area for its beauty.
The concert ended after 100 minutes but demands from the audience brought the trio out for a 20-minute encore before Wooten called it a night. He reappeared later and posed for selfies and signed books and autographs for remaining fans.
OK Theatre owner Darrell Brann said the show was the biggest the theater had yet produced in terms of star power and ticket sales.
“I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “Victor was very gracious and said he loved the crowd.”
Brann said he recognized that the evening’s musical fare was a boundary stretcher for the theater.
“We don’t want to force anything down people’s throats, but we do want to provide the opportunity for people to come to something different than they might get normally.” Brann said.