JazzTimes - p.119
"Extremely versatile and flamboyant, Nashville bassist Victor Wooten is a dominating, exciting personality on electric bass, something that's reaffirmed by the best pieces on SOUL CIRCUS."
Personnel: Victor Wooten (vocals, guitar, electric sitar, keyboards, midi bass, acoustic bass, drums, drum programming, scratches, background vocals); Victor Wooten (sitar, acoustic bass guitar, bass guitar, electronic drums); Bill Miller (vocals, flute, frame drum, shaker); Joseph Wooten, Future Man (vocals, keyboards); Steve Bailey (vocals, acoustic bass, bass guitar, fretless bass); Kurt Storey, T.M. Stevens, Will Lee (vocals, bass guitar); Keith LeBlanc, MC Divinity, Kit Leblanc, Kelly Gravely (vocals); MC Sookie (rap vocals); Holly Wooten (spoken vocals, background vocals); Arianna Wooten, Radmila Bowers, Jeremiah Abel (spoken vocals); Larry Jarvis (guitar); Eric Silver (acoustic guitar); Howard Levy (harmonica, drums); Jeff Coffin (saxophone); Jacques Jones (bass guitar); Raymond Massey (drums, snare drum); T.H. Subash Chandran (ghatam, percussion); Roy Wooten (box); Darrell Tibbs (percussion); Speech (vocals, rap vocals); Saundra Williams (vocals, chant); Christian McBride, Kaila Wooten, Gary Grainger , John Cowan, Alvin Chea, Oteil Burbridge, Bill Dickens, Adam Wooten, Rhonda Smith , Bootsy Collins (vocals); Count Bass D (rap vocals); Regi Wooten (guitar, nylon-string guitar); Shawn "Thunder" Wallace (saxophone); Rod McGaha (trumpet); Barry Green (trombone); Dennis Chambers, J.D. Blair, Derico Watson (drums); Ganesh Kumar (kanjira).
Audio Mixer: Kurt Storey.
Liner Note Author: Geoffrey Himes.
Recording information: Monkey boy Studios, New York, NY; VixMix Studios, Nashville, TN.
Illustrator: Steven Parke.
Photographer: Steven Parke.
Anyone who knows anything about Victor Wooten knows that he's one of those rare souls: he gains a rep for playing the bass. Soul Circus, however, isn't just an extravaganza for bass players. Wooten, as it turns out, is also a heck of a writer and, as the listener will learn on the first track, a fine singer. The unusual first track, "Victa," is a funky, soulful hymn in praise of -- who else -- Wooten himself, while "Bass Tribute" offers accolades to those who've come before him. If the subject matter sounds a bit strange, the confident delivery, understated humor, and fine songwriting make it all work. Soul Circus' production is a nice merger of keyboards, drums, lots of bass, and multiple voices. While this combination and Wooten's production does provide a blueprint sound for the album, it's never predictable. "Back to India," for example, combines soul and sitar for an unusual but winning mixture. There are other oddities like "Cell Phone," complete with dialer effects, spiritually tinged material like "Prayer" and "Back to India," and songs about the power of love such as "Can't Hide Love." Overall, Soul Circus has the adventurous, confident feel of an old Sly Stone album while still being completely of its time. It's also certain that the album will convince listeners that Wooten, while still a fine bass player, has many talents. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford Jr.