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Jamerson's influence?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Bubba Love, Apr 1, 2006.

  1. Where do you feel James Jamerson's influence can be most strongly felt in music today? After everything that happened in the 70s/80s in terms of style and technique, does his legacy still survive in a significant way?

    I'm talking about specific bassists/artists here. Everyone who plays in a funk band owes a debt to Jamerson IMO, but that's because Jamerson influenced X who influenced Y who Z heard one day and went crazy. Are there any more direct links left?
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Anthony Jackson always says that his approach is rooted in Jamerson's style.
  3. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    Check out the book Standing in the Shadow's of Motown for a list of bass players influenced by Jamerson. If you look at most of the top session guys I'll bet most if not all were directly influenced by Jamerson.
    nixdad likes this.
  4. oldfclefer

    oldfclefer low ended Supporting Member

    May 5, 2005
    Southern Ohio
    Oh come on.

    Dude's got us all by the short hairs.

    Can't strike a note without him coming into play.
  5. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    If we're speaking of impactful players who are in the game right now, I've always heard a lot of Jamerson influence in Nathan East's playing. He's the guy to point to as a noted international figure who is playing and recording as we speak.
    It's also important to mention that both men performed a lot of pop music and managed to play creatively and intelligently in those situations. In addition, they both brought a solid Jazz sensibility and background to non-Jazz music, and the end results were always made better for it.

    Nate's playing recalls Jamerson's ability to play bass parts that were strong, singular musical statements on their own while never stepping on the vocalist or other accompanying instruments. This is more of a concept thing, and not necessarily tied to applying old Jamerson licks in modern music. East doesn't use a vintage P-Bass with flats and high action, but the intent shines through his modern tone. He did a fine job of this on Michael McDonald's recent Motown cover albums.

    Will Lee is also a current player who displays a strong Jamerson influence, which can be heard every night on Letterman.

    Ultimately, Jamerson defined and quantified what tasteful and artistic electric bass playing is for an awful lot of players, especially in the world of pop music. Any bassist who sucessfully achieves that has tipped the proverbial hat to him, either knowingly or unknowingly.
    Jhengsman likes this.
  6. rylche


    Oct 27, 2005
    +1 well said :)
  7. Funkzfly


    Jun 15, 2005
    Jamerson practically IS the definition of Bass Playing, it's practically impossible to gauge his influence I reckon.

    Nathan East, Chuck Rainey, Anthony Jackson, Willie Weeks, Pino Palladino, Nathan Watts, John Pattituci, George Porter Jr, Bob Babbit all ooze Jamerson's influence.
    nixdad likes this.
  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Everone mentioned-
    Jackson, East, Lee, Weeks, etc are products of the '70s...true, they're all playing TODAY.
    Rainey & Babbitt are direct contemporaries of Jamerson.
    I read Bubba's question of "Today" a bit differently...as in 'new' guys on the scene playing what we're hearing on today's Pop/Rock/R&B stations.
    Offhand, I'm not hearing much of Jamerson's style in anything but samples.
  9. Thank you, that's what I was mostly getting at. Who sounds like Jamerson today? We're still up to our knees in Jaco clones, but is anyone new trying to sound like JJ?

    You can talk about people like Stuart Zender, but he probably would have listened more to Bootsy, who would have listened to Jamerson (Don't know how true that is BTW, just an example). That's not what I'm talking about, I'm talking about direct links. It seems sort of sad that the majority has moved on.
  10. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    His influence is everywhere and forever.

    I don't think I'm going too far saying he actually
    modern bass playing.

    :cool: :bassist:
  11. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Just my two cents....... But I agree with Jim K! Today's popular music scene doesn't seem to support/engourage the kind of interplay with the songs that Jamerson/ Rainey/ Jemmott etc. brought to the table. Pino's excellent work with D'Angelo comes to mind, but on a whole I'm not hearing it much anywhere else.
  12. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    I absolutely agree with this, but couldn't come up with a gentle or soft way to say it. I guess it just needs to be said;)
  13. Couldn't agree more.

    John Paul Jones was one of my biggest influences when I first picked up bass and I really didn't realize it was Jamersons influence on him that made me prefer his style compared to some others in JPJ's time period.

    Later on I started listen to players like Rainey, Dunn, Jemmott, and others already mentioned. You really don't hear that style in todays music.
  14. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    As said.
    Chuck Rainy
    Sir Paul
    Willie weeks
    Lee Sklar
    T-bone Wolk
    Freddie Washington
    Will Lee
    Just to name a few.
    James Jamerson was one of the biggest bass influence's there was.
    From 1962-1974 he was the man.
  15. Funkzfly


    Jun 15, 2005
    There's a good Bootsy influence with Mr. Zender, but I hear more of a Paul Jackson approach with Zender...so in which case, there is certainly Jamerson influence in his playing, but from a secondary source...

    Which just goes to proove that most current Bassists will be influenced by James Jamerson indirectly...
  16. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    How 'bout Jimmy Blanton?
    ...did any bassist ever play a 16th note before Blanton?
    RobertFunk likes this.
  17. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    That sounds exactly the same as my blueprint.
    ...then it was onto the URB Jazz guys(Brown, Carter, Mingus, NHOP, etc).
  18. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Agree 100%.
    Today's stuff doesn't require/need busy Jamerson-esque lines; the man played LINES.
    Now, it's a catchy 1-bar figure(if that) looped over & over.
    Dumbed-down for the LCD...a pianist friend of mine blames it all on all the drugs these kids' parents took.

    I thought of D'Angelo as an afterthought, too, Jerry. Raphael Saadiq also has an Old Skool thing going on.
  19. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    While who I'm trying to sound like is myself, my sound comes from Jamerson and many of those who he influenced, and from many of the chicago blues musicians. My pbass is set up with Labella Jamerson's, really high action, and foam under the bridge cover. While you may never hear me, it's just this pass year I've started playing gigs around Austin, mainly blues and cover bands, I'm only 18 but the Jamerson sound is a big part of how I try to play. I don't want to play or sound like Jaco at all. If I don't feel it, I don't play. Also I recently purchased SITSOM and it's helped me IMO to think more like Jamerson. The other reason there are no Jamerson clones is because it's a lot easier to play a really fast melody line than it is to come up with a bassline that has it's own melodic conventions, yet doesn't stick out. Many other bassists want to be guitarist and steal the show or just sit there and play root.
  20. cabcreaser

    cabcreaser Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    I think the legacy of Jamerson (or R&B for that matter) can be found largely in the current gospel music scene. Bass players are given the amount of space in Gospel music that allows them to come up with quite innovative lines that still function as bass (unlike many other modern busy bass players who are trying desperately to redefine an instrument that is named bass for a reason, but that is a whole other topic).

    In addition, the hip hop world whether via samples or The Roots (though simplified) or the neo-soul of Erykah Badu, D'angelo, Raphael Saadiq (not surprisingly all three have connections to Pino, though Raphael is a great bass player as well and Hubert Eaves IV laid down a bass masterpiece on the Badu live album) definitely preserves a lot of what Jamerson was doing.

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