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Jamerson, Home Cookin'

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Hizzoner, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. Hizzoner


    Jan 6, 2005
    Chicago area
    Driving into work today I heard this song again and almost had to pull over and shake a leg...wow..OMG as my students would say.

    I have really been studying Jamerson lately and have both the book and the CD's "Standing in the Shadows of Motown(SITSOM)..great educational tools..esp the second disc of SITSOM with the bass up in the mix...done some looking on the many posts here on TB as well.

    I have tried some to the exercises in the book but I read music very poorly(BTW, A REAL regret I did not learn to read properly when I was younger...my young daughters will definitely learn...I am slowly learning now but it is tough..barely have the time to play bass!)

    Just wondered for those in the know if you have any tips, exercises in particular for a less than stellar reader/player to figuring Jamerson's feel, masterful style..so fluid and unpredictable..melodic, etc..

    I really want to add some Jamerson influenced chops to my growing arsenal and am truly humbled by the man...

    Thanks for your input...

  2. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    I can't offer you much help as I'm at the same place now, but a few things have helped me to get closer to his sound and approach.

    Using one finger really helps to get that uniform, bouncy, feel, and muted flats cut the sustain so each note rings out clear and has that round tone. I am really enjoying the LaBella Jamerson flats, nothing sounds like them, and if you want to nail his tone as well as feel they are necessary, IMO. Lighter traditional flats can give you a great variation on his tone that worked for a lot of the players that came up in his wake and who went for a similar style, like Jerry Jemmott, Tommy Cogbil and Bob Babbit.

    Using open strings, raking down, syncopating your lines (and not always emphasising the downbeat), etc. help in keeping the basslines moving forward in his inimitable way. I find breaking down the parts into little chunks helps me learn them, and I gain an understanding of his style and musical ideas that I can incorporate, but my knowledge of musical theory is way insufficient to be able to approach his ability to compose such interesting and funky lines, with their subtle variations within a song. He understood the 'rules' well enough to break them, and had such a great musical conception that he was able to play dissonant passing notes that just worked in the song.

    He also played a lot of ghost notes, muted notes that have a percussive effect and who added to the push and pull of his lines within a song.

    If he hadn't such a strong grounding in jazz music and latin rhythms he wouldn't have taken the bass so far in the direction he did, understanding them better will help you, too, I imagine.

    After unsuccessfully trying to teach myself to read music, I'm finally going to take some lessons, staring next week. Jamerson is the brick wall I came up against that made me realize how much my lack of musical theory is holding me back from playing like I want to. My ear has taken me part way but not nearly far enough.

    On youtube, marloweDK and Jamersonshook have posted a bunch of songs that can help you pick out parts, and to point up other amazing lines from Jamerson's vast catalogue.

    One last thing, maybe too obvious, but just listen to him until you can't stop singing his lines, a great way to absorb his approach and play with that same fluidity and groove.

    I hope none of this has seemed condescending, most of it is fairly obvious and none too concrete.
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Check out SITSOM's "Home Cookin'" with David Hungate...solo the track. Go 1-2 bars at a time.
    ...if you have a drum machine: Program the rhythm to a specific bar into the machine. FWIW, I use a low conga sound for Low notes (E-A strings on the bass), middle conga sound for A-D strings, & high conga for D-G strings. I use a cross stick for ghosted notes.
    Program it in & slow it down to 60-70 bpm.
    Listen to the sound/pattern while looking at the written out rhythm in the book.

    Eventually (hopefully), you will be able to see patterns in rhythm & be able to 'hear' them while looking a page of sheet music.
  4. oh man, theres no way to describe what it is that makes his playing so great. as a result, it is really hard to immitate. on the bright side, you probably have a lot of his style in your playing whether you realize it or not. his influence is everywhere. hes like the abraham of bass (from the bible, not lincoln), we are all his children.
  5. Hizzoner


    Jan 6, 2005
    Chicago area
    all helpful info...The longer I play the more I realize I should never attempt to find my own voice by totally copping another's tone...a lesson I wish I had learned early on. Just a long and sometimes frustrating road.

    Now learning FROM the masters is a different ball of wax. I am truly humbled.

  6. babaseen

    babaseen Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2001
    Boston, MA
    Anyone know where I can find the CD:

    Road Runner & Home Cookin': Junior Walker & the All-Stars

    for sale, it's a must have for my collection
  7. igor chromatic excercice, will make you go in his mind for chromatic approach and its in the book
  8. Youngspanion

    Youngspanion Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    Sometimes these guys help. Watching and listening can be very helpful.


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