Key notes: Victor Wooten, image 1, with band, and Jimmy Herring, image 2, use diverse musical styles to open the door to experimentation and improvisation. Wooten band photo by Steven Parke
who: Jimmy Herring Band and Victor Wooten Band
where: The Orange Peel
when: Monday, Nov. 5 (8 p.m. $25/$27. Doors at 8 p.m. 18 +. theorangepeel.net)
Imagine music without genres, where words like “jazz,” “rock,” “jam,” “bluegrass” and “electronic” lose meaning. This is the world of Victor Wooten and Jimmy Herring. In a class of their own, both are revered musicians that who challenge the bounds of musical styles.
Wooten wears many hats: author, educator, musician. He has collaborated with people like Stanley Clarke, Dave Matthews and Bootsy Collins, but is most notably known for is his bass stylings as a member of Béla Fleck and The Flecktones. His sound demonstrates forward-thinking techniques that deliver his unique slapping, deep tone.
Herring keeps good company, too. He's currently a member of Widespread Panic, and his résumé includes Aquarium Rescue Unit, The Allman Brothers Band, Phil Lesh and Friends and The Dead. He's known for his innovative guitar style with signature phrasing and lengthy, ranging solos.
Both will play the Orange Peel as part of a co-headlining tour in support of their current solo albums: Herring's Subject To Change Without Notice (featuring contributions from Steep Canyon Rangers’ fiddle player Nicky Sanders) and Wooten's simultaneous release of Sword and Stone and Words and Tones.
Herring envisions a musical world without the boundaries of genres. "I want to get to a point where music is music,” he tells Xpress. “It doesn't matter whether it's blues, funk, jazz or bluegrass — it could be anything, and still get the point across that music is a universal language," Herring says as he takes a break from loading in for his next show.
"In the early '90s we had H.O.R.D.E. with Blues Traveler, Panic, Phish, Bela Fleck, Aquarium Rescue Unit,” he says. “Every one of those groups are worlds apart. I know a lot of people look at them as all being apart of the same genre, but really they're way different than each other. Bill Graham was doing that years ago, when he would have people like the Steve Miller Band play with Miles Davis."
Playing music with his family from an early age, Wooten attributes his diverse musical background to his upbringing. "Like learning your first language, you learn from your family and those close around you. I owe my parents and brothers for introducing me to a wide variety of music at a very early age," Wooten says.
As these musicians bring contrasting musical tones and experiences to the stage, it will create an atmosphere ripe for industry-generated genres to disappear. Expect a night of virtuoso music that covers a lot of ground. Herring and Wooten will present thought-provoking, tight compositions with plenty of room for improvisation and cross-pollination between bands.
The first step in all of this is being receptive to these new musical possibilities. "Come with an open mind. I know Jimmy and his band will be bringing the heat. I've already heard them," Wooten says. "We will do our best to do the same."