By Kyle Morrison
International bass icon Victor Wooten visited Community High School recently to hold a master class for the jazz students of Community, Huron and Pioneer high schools.
Packed into the Craft Theater were jazz students, parents, and faculty who all witnessed and learned.
The five-time Grammy Award winner has won most every major award given to a bass player. Wooten was named bassist of the year three times by Bass Player Magazine, and remains the only person to have won the award more than once. Apart from a tremendously successful solo career, he has played and recorded with artists such as Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Bass Extremes, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and a handful of others.
In a surprise move, Wooten brought along with him brothers Regi and Joseph Wooten, both also professional musicians. The trio of Victor, Regi and Joseph (on bass, guitar, and electric keyboard, respectively) played a song for the audience, took questions, and critiqued students from Community combos Maximum Will and BlueTruth.
“What a blast – one the kids will never forget. They knocked us all out,” said CHS Jazz Director Jack Wagner.
Although Wooten was only contracted for one hour, he generously stayed for nearly three.
Wagner went through a lot of trouble to book Wooten for the master class. He tried for months, calling anyone who could make it happen in the process.
“I went through a heck of a lot to get him here, but [it was] totally worth it,” said Wagner. He was given a huge discount by agreeing to buy $1,300 worth of CDs and books from Wooten. (His novel is “The Music Lesson,” and his newest album, “A Show of Hands 15”). In addition to these purchases, another $1,000 or so was put together by the highs schools’ jazz programs to pay for the master class.
Wooten’s priceless insight and spirituality gave these students inspiration and perspective that they are unlikely to find anywhere else. “We got our money’s worth,” said Wagner.
Kyle Morrison is a senior and a musician at Community High School. This article was originally published in The Communicator Online, Community High’s student publication. It is reprinted with permission.