Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

James Jamerson

Motown's tormented genius, James Jamerson is unanimously acclaimed as the first virtuoso of the electric bass. James has influenced (whether they know it or not) every electric bassist to ever pick up the instrument. Arriving at Motown in 1959, James' bass playing evolved over the next decade from a traditional root-fifth cocktail style of bass playing into an astonishing new style built upon a flurry of sixteenth-note runs and syncopations, “pushing the envelope” dissonances, and fearless and constant exploration.

From 1964 to 1972, the entire Motown era flourished in large part due to the driving sound of James Jamerson's innovative bass playing. Up until 1968, his brilliant playing appeared on virtually every song. He was purposely emphasized in the mix to be clearly heard over a car radio, and the wide popularity of Motown contributed to the ascension of the bass as the key ingredient in R&B and soul music. Like the blues before, the influence of a prominent bass would spread far beyond these genres to pop, rock and jazz and fusion.

Read more

1 Photos

Videos

Similar

Jaco Pastorius Jaco Pastorius
bass, electric
Marcus Miller Marcus Miller
bass, electric
Esperanza Spalding Esperanza Spalding
bass, acoustic
Bela Fleck Bela Fleck
banjo
Donny Hathaway Donny Hathaway
vocalist
Jimmy Haslip Jimmy Haslip
bass, electric

Premium Profiles

Ryan Blotnick Ryan Blotnick
guitar
Maureen Choi Maureen Choi
violin
Synia Carroll Synia Carroll
vocalist
Hilary Kole Hilary Kole
vocalist
Karl Berger Karl Berger
band/orchestra
Tony Adamo Tony Adamo
vocalist
Norman David Norman David
saxophone
Dan Papirany Dan Papirany
piano
William Mentz William Mentz
vocalist
Quinsin Nachoff Quinsin Nachoff
saxophone
Jen de Ness Jen de Ness
vocalist

All About Vince Guaraldi!

An exclusive opportunity for All About Jazz readers to participate in the celebration of a jazz legend.