PERFORMING ARTS

The Spirit of Music: The Lesson Continues

Vintage. Feb. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780593081662. pap. $16. MUSIC
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Musician Wooten’s first book, The Music Lesson, a widely heralded guide through his musical journey, was inspiring, instructive, and wonderfully metaphysical. His latest is a similarly structured, evangelistic campaign for Music, a female spirit he believes is in danger from technologies such as Auto-Tune and MP3s and convenience over meaningful effort. It is unclear if his encounters with other musicians and similarly curious characters are based in fact or a complete fiction, but the beauty is that the issue is irrelevant. Wooten is strikingly honest about his fear of not being good enough as a son, a teacher, and a musician—though he is a founding member of the supergroup Béla Fleck and the Flecktones and is widely considered one of the best bass players in the world. His choice to frame his thoughts within a kind of Carlos Castaneda–esque spirit quest reflects the serious contemplation he’s given to his message, which is simply about listening, doing the work, taking the time, and being open to the mysteries that surround us. And in the COVID era, a clarion call for the power of live and communal music could not come at a better time.
VERDICT An engaging parable on the power of intention for the musically and mystically inclined.

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