As I have posted here before, sheer technical virtuosity with nothing to say musically is a pretty empty exercise. That's why, as a guitar player, I don't care for Steve Vai, for example, or some of the other "shredders" out there. Sure, there's technique galore, but fer gawdsakes, just play me a melody that makes me cry.
Virtuosity in the presence of musical taste, however, is another thing entirely. As I have posted here before, Django Reinhardt, Segovia, and lots of other string benders display a talent combining both technical skills and musical soul.
In terms of bass players, in the "modern era," certainly Jaco Pastorius is a worthy talent. And in the rock arena, Chris Squire, who never learned to play on 1 & 3, is fun to listen to. And Jack Bruce, late of Cream, opened doors that many bass players still haven't walked through.
Victor Wooten, of Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, (wikipedia entry here) stands ready to assume the mantle of Bass God of the 21st Century. What, you don't believe me? Just watch, listen to him play Amazing Grace, and believe: