In his short tenure with Duke Ellington, Jimmy Blanton became the first great double bass virtuoso in jazz. Blanton had both the technique and the fine tone to take this style of playing to higher levels. Blanton took the bass, which had previously been used only to keep time and lay down a basic harmonic foundation, to a new dimension where it became an instrument capable of horn-like solos. Blanton truly turned the musical world onto the possibilities of using the bass as a melodic instrument, both bowed and plucked. His uniqueness lay not only in what he played, but how he played. His influence on generations of bassists has been monumental.