Wooten, Blair Rock Pick-Staiger

Christina Chaey

Updated March 13, 1:28 a.m.

“I’m overjoyed right now,” said bass guitar virtuoso Victor Lemonte Wooten as he took the stage at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall Thursday night. Wooten reunited with his former drummer and long-time friend J.D. Blair on stage for their first performance together in more than 10 years.

“Likewise,” Blair grinned, easing into a 15-minute opening jam session to kick off their “Two Minds One Groove” tour.

The three-hour show combined masterful improvisation from two prodigiously talented musicians with old favorites, inside jokes and audience interaction.

The duo, who first toured together in 1996 after the release of Wooten’s critically acclaimed solo debut “A Show of Hands,” combined electric bass and percussion to create a blend of jazz and rhythmic, James Brown-channeling funk. Wooten, a friend of Pick-Staiger’s Director of Concerts Richard Van Kleeck, is best known for his work with the Grammy Award-winning Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. Blair has collaborated with artists such as Shania Twain, Yo-Yo Ma and Lyle Lovett.

On Thursday night, armed with four bass guitars and a drum kit, both artists went back to their roots.

“People didn’t know if the bass and the drums could have a concert together,” Wooten told the audience. “And at first, neither did I.”

The concert became a family affair, as Wooten and Blair were joined on stage by two of Wooten’s four children, his 8-year-old son, Adam, and 11-year-old daughter, Kaila, to perform a cover of India.Arie’s “Better People.” The duo was later joined by original Flecktones member Howard Levy, who quieted the crowd with several masterful harmonica solos during the show’s second half.

Wooten said it was heartening to play to such a responsive crowd for the tour’s debut.

“For a while, people weren’t going to concerts as much,” Wooten said in an interview with The Daily. “But it also does seem like people are still longing for that outlet. In my little world, anyway, it seems like those people are still there.”

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