Modern Band Summit 2019 Speakers
The Modern Band Summit has been honored to featured speakers/performers like Liberty DeVitto, Isaiah Sharkey, Carmine Appice, David Broza, Bernie Williams, Alex Skolnick, Stu Hamm, Brian Hardgroove of Public Enemy and others. We are thrilled to announce the following special guests, performers, and speakers for the 2019 Modern Band Summit. Keep an eye out for more additions.
CEO and Founder, Little Kids Rock
Dave Wish is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that funds and runs one of the largest, free instrumental music programs in US public schools today, having served nearly 500,000 low-income children in 14 states. A recognized social entrepreneur, Dave has been awarded numerous honors for his work in the field, including prestigious fellowships from Ashoka, The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, The Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation, and The Goldhirsh Foundation.
Who is Victor Lemonte Wooten?
“Who am I? Now, that’s a good question.”
Victor Lemonte Wooten is a unique human being. Born the youngest of five boys, he began learning to play music at the tender age of two. He started performing in nightclubs and theaters as the bassist with the family band at age five, and at age six, was on tour with his brothers opening shows for legendary soul artist Curtis Mayfield. Soon after, he was affectionately known as the 8-year-old Bass Ace, and before graduating high school, he and his brothers had shared the stage with artists such as Stephanie Mills, War, Ramsey Lewis, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Dexter Wansel, and The Temptations. But, this only begins to tell the tale of this Tennessee titan.
Wooten, now a five-time Grammy winner, hit the worldwide scene in 1990 as a founding member of the super-group Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Continuing to blaze a musical trail with the band, Victor has also become widely known for his own Grammy nominated solo recordings and tours.
Among other things, he is a loving husband and father of four, a skilled naturalist and teacher, a published author, a magician and acrobat, and has won every major award given to a bass guitarist including being voted Bassist of the Year in Bass Player Magazine’s readers poll three times (the only person to win it more than once.) In 2011, Rolling Stone Magazine voted Victor one of the Top Ten Bassist of ALL TIME.
“I was born at the right place and the right time to a wonderful family.”
Victor Lemonte Wooten was born September 11, 1964 to military parents on an air force base outside of Boise, Idaho. Soon after, the family packed up and moved on as military families often do. It was during the years stationed in Hawaii that the brothers began performing as a five-piece band. With Regi on guitar, Roy on drums, Rudy on sax, Joseph on keys, and Victor on bass, the Wooten Brothers band was born. Performing in their front yard, the band immediately began honing their skills. Victor credits the brothers’ early ability to play a variety of musical genres to the experience of relocating frequently, the diversity of 1960′s radio stations, and the unwavering support of their parents who provided many opportunities and booked all of their performances.
“My brothers, who were already playing music, knew they needed a bass player to complete the family band. Regi started teaching me as soon as I could sit up straight, and my parents let him do it.”
Victor has been heralded as “the Michael Jordan of the bass” and “one of the most fearless musicians on the planet.” These qualities were evident when, in 1981, his older brother, Roy, recommended him as a bluegrass fiddle player for a job performing at a nearby amusement park. Victor, having never played violin in his life, was thrilled to meet the challenge. He borrowed an instrument from his high school orchestra teacher and immediately began practicing. Quickly learning the most popular fiddle tunes and techniques, he took the job at Busch Gardens’ The Old Country in Williamsburg, VA playing fiddle and bass in the Good Time Country Show.
“I remember getting that call from Roy. He trusted me. I had to learn to be a fiddler real quick, almost over night. I don’t think the people who hired me ever knew I’d never played before.”
What they soon found out was that the brothers were quickly becoming star attractions. The Wooten Brothers rapidly became staple figures and star attractions at the park throughout the 1980′s working in the German, Italian, Country and Bluegrass, and Americana shows.
The years 1980 and 1981 found the brothers performing for US troops overseas as the band for the Busch Gardens USO show. Traveling the world was an eye-opening time of learning for young Victor, but it was one summer performing in the country show that, unbeknownst to him, changed his life forever. That was when he became aware of a unique banjo player named Béla Fleck.
“My brothers and parents were the foundation. They prepared me for just about anything by teaching me to keep my mind open and to learn to adapt.”
While messing around with a friend’s banjo between shows, the friend commented on Wooten’s unique banjo sound. Because the instrument is tuned different from a bass, Victor’s lines came out sounding pretty strange when he played his friend’s instrument. With a thick southern accent, the friend told him that he sounded just like a banjo player named “Baylor Fleck”. Wooten couldn’t imagine anyone playing a banjo that way, so he sought out to find out who this Baylor guy was. When he finally heard a recording of Béla’s band New Grass Revival, he was hooked.
In 1987, Victor traveled with his friend to Nashville, TN. During their short visit, he connected with the banjoist Fleck for the first time. After their initial meeting, Wooten and Fleck kept in touch and continued sharing musical ideas. In 1988, Wooten found himself living in Nashville. Later that year, Béla and Victor, along with Victor’s inventive brother Roy “Future Man” Wooten, and harmonica & piano wizard Howard Levy, formed the eclectic ensemble Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. With a dozen recordings under their belt, the band has created a completely new sound and has become known for its genre-defying music. Currently, over twenty years later, the band is still going strong.
“Musically, that means not being rigid and not having to play in a certain way.”
A few years after he began touring with the Flecktones, Victor released his first solo project, A Show of Hands. Recorded with only a 4-string bass, no multi-tracking, and a lot of groove and soul, this revolutionary CD was voted one of the most important bass records of all time.
Musicians wanting to learn Victor’s unique style and elusive techniques began seeking him out for lessons and seminars at music stores and schools around the world. These workshops became the training ground that lead to the formation of his acclaimed Bass/Nature Camp in 2000, which eventually expanded into Victor Wooten’s Center for Music and Nature. These “intensive” style programs, now in its thirteenth year, welcome all instrumentation and vocalists, and have helped thousands of people of all ages from all corners of the world enhance their musical and personal lives.
“People frequently thank us for sending their new spouses home.”
In 2009, Wooten Woods became the new home for all of Victor’s camps. The nearly 150-acre retreat, owned by Victor and his wife, is located on the beautiful Duck River west of Nashville, TN. This picturesque retreat center, largely built by the hands and hearts of past students, has provided many more opportunities for Victor and his staff to share their lifelong experiences with others.
“We give students the opportunity to completely let go and be themselves while congregating in a peaceful non-competitive manner on an equal playing ground with each other and their instructors. We’ve found this to be the best environment for learning.”
April 1st, 2008 marked the debut of two new releases by Victor Wooten. Palmystery (Heads Up) is his sixth solo recording and contains a collection of all new music. It features Bootsy Collins, Mike Stern, Keb Mo, Carl Denson, Jd Blair, Derico Watson, Saundra Williams, Anthony Wellington, Steve Bailey, Will Lee, Dennis Chambers, The Lee Boys, The Wooten Brothers, and others. The album showcases Wooten’s jazz composition and arranging skills with songs like “Two Timers”, ‘Flex’, and “Song for my Father”, but also brings to the forefront his artistically humble side with the celebratory track “Bass Tribute” and the thought provoking “I Saw God”.
On the same date, Victor released The Music Lesson-A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music, a self-published novel about Life and Music. The book presold hundreds of copies before its release quickly becoming a “must-read” for musicians world-wide. The choice of using this unconventional approach to sharing unique ideas about music was a surprise to all. Offering an intriguing story full of anecdotes and mysticism, The Music Lesson has helped free the minds of musicians worldwide. Soon after its release, it was picked up and published by the Berkley Publishing Group/ Penguin USA Inc. Now translated into multiple languages, The Music Lesson is currently used as required reading and part of curriculums in study groups, schools, and universities including the prestigious Berklee College of Music and Stanford.
With the success of the book came the release of The Music Lesson audiobook (Tantor Audio). Victor lends his voice as the narrator and main character, but enlisted many of his friends and fellow musicians to read the parts of all the remaining characters. Victor also wrote and performed the musical score to the audio book, which was voted as a one of five finalists at the 2011 Audie Awards (the audio book’s equivalent to the Grammys) in the category of Personal Development.
“My mom always said the world needs more than just good musicians. She said we need good people.”
Wooten’s sought-after skills and growing popularity have lead to recordings and performances with artists such as Chick Corea, The Dave Matthews Band, Bootsy Collins, Branford Marsalis, Mike Stern, Prince, India Arie, Keb Mo, Dennis Chambers, Susan Tedeschi, Gov’t Mule, Bruce Hornsby, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Frank Gambale, the legendary Moroccan group Nass El Ghiwane, and many others.
His respected reputation as a teacher and speaker/lecturer on the subjects of both Music and Nature have garnered invitations for him to speak and teach at schools, universities, classes and spiritual centers around the world. Some of these places include Strathmore College, Berklee College of Music, Stanford University, Harvard, Mississippi State, Miami University, Middle Tennessee State University, The Haven (Gabriola Isle BC, Canada), Various Nature Centers and camps, and The NYC “Y” with Dan Levitin, author of “This Is Your Brain On Music”.
Along with recording Grammy winning and Billboard charting albums with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Victor also spearheaded the formation of the super-group SMV with two of his childhood heroes, Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller. He continues to record and tour with the Flecktones, various other artists, and as a solo artist. He also currently leads six to eight camps at Wooten Woods each year (which he takes part in all day every day). With all of this going on, it would seem like Victor Wooten would have no time for anything else, but that is not the case.
Taking matters completely into his own hands, Wooten has recently formed his own record label. Vix Records, Wooten’s self-proclaimed “Label of Love”, entered the scene in 2011 with a re-mastered version of his pioneering debut solo CD. The new version, A Show of Hands 15, contains three bonus tracks and is also released on vinyl.
“If the world were to follow you today, where would you lead them?”
Continuing to grow and always willing to share his gifts with all who desire to learn, it seems that Victor Wooten has no plans of slowing down.
I’m currently writing the sequel to The Music Lesson, and have at least three more books planned after that. I feel like we’re just getting started with the camps and Wooten Woods. Now that we are officially recognized as a not-for-profit organization (501c3), the door is wide open. Vix Records has already released multiple products and we’re not even a year old yet. Writing music for movies and television is the next logical step, and with the amazing team I have helping me, including my manager Danette Albetta, my assistant Dave Welsch, and my wife Holly, I’m sure we’ll accomplish all of our dreams and more. You know, my kids are actually starting to play gigs on their own now. Who knows, I may be able to retire soon and become their manager. I’m just happy that people like what I do and that I have a lot of support. You can’t beat that.
Keep checking in at VictorWooten.com to stay current with everything Victor Lemonte Wooten has his hands and heart wrapped around. He’s moving quickly, so you’ll have to try hard to keep up. One thing is for sure; you won’t want to miss any of it
- Juilliard Trained
- Emmy award-winning composer
- Inventor of the Viper electric violin
- Original member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- Toured and performed with Celine Dion, Billy Joel, Kanye West, Paul McCartney, and many others
Recording artist, performer, producer, inventor, Emmy-winning composer and music education advocate Mark Wood has spent the past four decades electrifying the orchestra industry – literally. Dubbed ‘The Les Paul of The Violin World’ by PBS, Wood is the premier electric violinist of his generation who pioneered the entire genre.
The Juilliard-trained violinist (he attended on full scholarship) first turned the string establishment on its head in the early 1970’s with his invention of the first solid body electric violin. His company Wood Violins is the premier manufacturer of electric violins, violas and cellos worldwide, and he holds the patent for the first-ever self-supporting violin. The company stands behind its claim to have made the most important change to the violin in 400 years and is often referred to as the “Stradivarius of electric violins.” Mark’s signature electric violin invention, the Viper, has found favor with musicians as varied as Lady Gaga’s violinist Judy Kang and Carrie Underwood’s violinist Jimmy Herman, and countless others.
Wood is a world-renowned performer who rose to fame as string master and original member of the internationally acclaimed Trans Siberian Orchestra. A successful solo artist in his own right, Wood writes and records original music for film and television, has released seven solo albums, and tours with his band The Mark Wood Experience (MWE) which features his wife and partner, vocalist Laura Kaye. His commission credits include The Juilliard School and extensive TV broadcast music including The Winter Olympics and The Tour de France (for which he won an Emmy).
In addition to his continued solo and commission work, Wood has collaborated with and appeared alongside some of the biggest names in music such as Lenny Kravitz, Celine Dion, and Kanye West. Wood had the honor of performing with legendary artists such as Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, Steven Tyler, and Roger Daltry. He also starred in a Kanye West produced national Pepsi TV commercial and has appeared on the world’s most venerable stages including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Madison Square Garden.
But Mark’s true passion is music education. His groundbreaking music education program Electrify Your Strings!™ (now in its 18th year) is an immersive rock and roll workshop and concert series for school music departments that boosts student self-esteem and helps raise much-needed funds. Mark and his team of Artist Mentors visit upwards of 75 schools per year. EYS has been featured on NBC-TV’s The Today Show, CBS Evening News, CBS Morning News, and regional media outlets.
Mark has dedicated his career to providing educators with the opportunity to ignite their students’ passions and to inspire students to open their minds and unlock their potential. His book “Electrify Your Strings: The Mark Wood Improvisational Violin Method” (published by Cherry Lane/Hal Leonard) is regarded as the definitive electric violin method book. The first in a series of forthcoming educational books, Wood is passionate about providing educators and students with the tools they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond. His new curriculum, “Rockin’ Strings,” published by Hal Leonard and developed with assistance from Dr. Bob Gillespie from Ohio State University, is expected to change the way prospective music educators are taught at the college and university level.
A genuine family man, Wood runs his operations alongside his wife, business partner, and longtime collaborator Laura Kaye out of their home in New York. In addition to EYS, Wood and his family run the annual Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp and Festival, celebrating its 10th year in 2019, as well as The Mark Wood Music Foundation, a 501-C3 dedicated to supporting music and the arts in America’s underserved communities.
With hundreds of thousands of students reached, millions of dollars raised to help high school music departments across the US, and countless school orchestra programs saved from the chopping block because of funds raised through his efforts, Mark Wood has proven himself a man of ideas, action and results. Showing no signs of slowing down, the multi faceted visionary continues to write, perform, record, invent and inspire. As a matter of fact, Mark Wood is just getting started.
Singer, songwriter, performer, and vocal coach Laura Kaye has spent the last 18 years empowering young singers as part of the Electrify Your Choir component of Electrify Your Strings, a groundbreaking music education program she runs with world-renowned electric violinist Mark Wood, her husband and partner. Utilizing techniques developed during her own extensive career in the music industry, Laura coaches students to tap into their individual creative potential through self-expression, performance techniques, and more.
Laura is Vice President and co-owner of Electrify Your Strings, Wood Violins, MWROC Music Festival, and also heads the Mark Wood Music Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to support America’s young musicians and their underserved schools.
As a recording artist and session vocalist, Laura has worked with legendary musicians such as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Lenny Kravitz and Sean Lennon and has been featured on countless television shows and advertisements. Laura is also a solo musician who continues to write, record, and perform.
Gretsch, Executive Vice President and CFO
Dinah Gretsch serves as Executive Vice President and CFO of the Savannah, GA-based Gretsch Company, a globally recognized manufacturer of high-quality drums and guitars since 1883.
A prominent figure in the musical instruments industry for forty years, Dinah has been recognized with numerous prestigious awards and accolades. In 2003 the Atlanta Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) presented her with the Heroes Award, a distinction awarded to community leaders in the music industry. In 2008 she was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame for her significant contributions to the music industry. In 2014 the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Georgia Southern University honored her with the prestigious Betty Foy Sanders Patrons of the Arts Award. That same year she was honored by the Women’s International Music Network (WiMN) with the She Rocks Award for her leadership in the music industry.
With a core belief that music has the power to change children’s lives in a positive way, Dinah established the Mrs. G’s Music Foundation in 2010 to fund music teachers, support artist residencies, and supply musical instruments to rural schools in the Low Country. She also provides grants to children to attend guitar and drum camps, all in furtherance of the Gretsch family mission to “enrich lives through participations in music.”
Dinah devotes much of her spare time serving on the boards of the Georgia Music Foundation, Loyola High School in New York City, Thomas Heyward School in Ridgeland, SC, and WiMN.