Rock & Roll Summer Reading
The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Musicby Victor L. Wooten
Berkley, 288 pp., $15 (paper)
Akin to Carlos Castaneda's travels with Native American shaman Don Juan, The Music Lesson leaves it to the reader to decide whether it's fiction or not. With an impulsively eccentric guru named Michael, acclaimed bassist Victor Lamonte Wooten, best known as a member of Béla Fleck's Flecktones, explores different aspects of what it means to be a musician. As a writer, the Grammy winner possesses an easygoing style and a story so whimsical that it's perfectly suited for his conjuring. For some, it might be spiritual hogwash and/or drug-induced fantasy, especially when discussing if "Life is alive" or not. His concept of Music (yes, with a capital "M" ) as a living, female entity is developed through elemental components like space, time, numbers, and nature, the author following Michael and a few other equally colorful characters down a dreamlike path of discovery. Wooten's success as a musician lends his philosophy some weight, and his ideas are never radical; that is, he delivers a commonsense way of looking at life and how to live it that few people, let alone musicians, tend to focus on.