Victor Wooten at Brooklyn Bowl

The bass man cometh

The Brooklyn Paper
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He’s more than just a pretty bass.

A Williamsburg concert space and neighborhood pin cracking alley is featuring a night with a bass man so focused on the music that he transcends his instrument.

“Bass just happens to be my instrument,” said Victor Wooten, an all-star string strummer whose skills have earned him no less than five Grammys and three “bassist of the year” awards from Bass Player Magazine. “But overall I play music. Being a bass player is no different than a guitarist, keyboardist or vocalist. No instrument carries the lead, the musician does.”

Wooten, who got a start as the bass man with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, has been carrying the lead with his bass since he dropped his debut album “Show of Hands” in 1996, and now he’s going on tour to promote two albums he will release in the fall “Words and Tones” and — “Sword and Stone.”

Does the ancient tale serve as a metaphor for the bass man — the ultimate instrumental underdog — who carrying the large and unwieldy instrument, rises to the top?

The Nashville-based musician says it’s so.

“Having the strength to pull the sword from the stone didn’t have anything to do with physical strength,” he said.

But even the strongest have to pace themselves on the road to musical glory.

Wooten will play with his band at Brooklyn Bowl in early June — and insists it isn’t the first time he’s played in a bowling alley; but, he and his band were careful not to hit New York too early in their tour.

“We don’t want to start in New York City,” he said. “We’re going to work our way there.”

Victor Wooten at Brooklyn Bowl [61 Wythe Avenue between North 11th and North 12th streets in Williamsburg. (718) 963-3369.]. June 7, 8 pm. $20.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at

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