James Jamerson's impact and influence

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by sdbrown8177, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. sdbrown8177


    Mar 18, 2014
    Hi all,

    I'm doing some research into the impact and influence of James Jamerson's playing style on popular music for an essay (Huge topic I know!) Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on particular artists/musicians/genres that have been directly influenced by his playing style in some way. Any comments would be much appreciated, Thanks!
  2. SoLongJake

    SoLongJake Supporting Member

    Jul 1, 2007
    Des Moines, Iowa
    In my opinion you'd have an easier time finding styles he didn't influence in some way.
  3. Yep, you could just pick names out of a hat. Jamerson's arguably the only bass player who could be more influential than Jaco. Since I think Jaco was influenced by Jamerson, I'd like to think that everyone influenced by Jaco is influenced by Jamerson, by extension.
  4. sdbrown8177


    Mar 18, 2014
    Thanks for the responses! I should note that I realise Jamerson's influence is colossal and probably impacts most popular music that follows him. I'm mainly wondering about particular artists or musicians that show obvious influences in their own work, so specific examples as opposed to broader, generic influences.

    Thanks again for the comments/thoughts!
  5. divetone


    Jun 25, 2012
    If you haven't already, you should check out "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" by Dr. Licks. The bassist who recorded transcriptions of Jameson's recordings all give testimony as to his influence.
  6. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
  7. Guitarodeo

    Guitarodeo Who's got da funk? Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2007
    Rocky Mountains
    If you want to immediate gratification and a living tribute to Jamerson, check out Pino Palladino on youtube playing with D'Angelo & Questlove here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3woHfDKTjqU Put your headphones on for a real treat. :bassist:
  8. Me, Jaco, Babbitt, Kaye (although she'd probably argue the reverse :p:bag:), Chuck Rainey, probably Duck, Dave Hood, Glaub, Phil Chen, and Tommy Cogbill. I think John Paul Jones listened to a lot of Motown (He worked with Dusty). The guy from Stone Temple Pilots is a big fan. Nathan Watts (liked Babbit, too). Paul McCartney (isn't that the guy from wings?). I'm guessing Bootsy, too. Marcus (also studied with Jaco). Anthony Jackson.
    As a musician and a bass player, you know there's a difference between influenced by and emulating. Jamerson influenced a lot of people who didn't necessarily try to copy his style or sound. So you can get surprising answers.
  9. Yeah, forgot Pino.
  10. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    You can find a lot of opinions (including input from some high profile famous bassists!) and a ton of rare Youtube vids and alot of guys doing tribute vids and transcriptions at my Facebook James Jamerson Fans Page. Have a look, and ask to join. I'll get ya right in...;-)
  11. Some Irish guy named Jameson, put out a cheap-but-decent-tasting blended whiskey. Apparently all these great bassists have at one time or another played under the influence of Jameson.

    People keep saying he was black, but I think that was Johnny Walker, who's had a tremendous influence on walking basslines, hence the term.

    I'm sure I get more melodic when I play under Jameson's influence, but my bandmates probably don't think so.

    I also like the influence Pino Noir has on me (I guess he's also black, "Noir", I don't know)
  12. James Jamerson changed the course of bass from non melodic simple timing patterns to a form of melodic syncopation and innovated the trend of playing a song within the song. He and Benny Benjamin advanced together the concept of bass and drums locking together to influence the entire rhythm ensemble. His contributions were monumental and disruptive...
  13. Anthony Jackson was probably the first cat who really brought massive attention to Jamerson's playing. A funny one to include would be Entwistle. He played for the Standing in the Shadows of Mowtown recording. He pretty much said every bass player in England was listening to and idolizing Jamerson.
  14. mccartneyman


    Dec 22, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Managing Editor, Bass Guitars Editor, MusicGearReview.com
    Anyone who started playing after Motown became a hit machine is influenced by Jamerson, even if they don't know it, and he continues to be an influence today. Likewise, Joe Osborn and Carol Kaye influence many more through their work with the Wrecking Crew in L.A., as did Duck Dunn, Tommy Cogbill and many other studio guys out of Memphis & Atlanta.
  15. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    +1 That publication would be the primary reference. No way to write that essay without it. Start there.
  16. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    There was also an issue of Bass Player with some insight from top session guys about JJ. December 2002, if you can find it.
  17. hellofromming


    Jan 18, 2012
    There is a great bass player called Wilton Felder, who is also the saxophonist for the Crusaders, played many Motown songs in early 70s. you can tell his playing was heavily influenced by Jameson.

    One of his famous bassline is I Want You Back from Jackson Five. He also played with jazz artists like grant Green And Jimmy Smith.

    You can also see James influence on some gospel cats like Sharay Reed and Mononeon. Sharay did many JJ's tribute on YouTube.
  18. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Honestly even though he was a great player with a deep influence I think his *direct* reach is way overstated these days, mainly because of the movie Standing in the Shadows. I think there are a lot of cats that say they are influenced by him that have barely heard a single Motown tune.
  19. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    The movie was one thing (wonderful); but I doubt many players are even aware of it. The Public certainly isn't. And I believe you are correct that as time gets on there is a significantly decreased direct influence.

    But, the book is quite another thing, and masterfully executed in very different ways than the movie. There, you will find specific details about the direct influence on many still top tier bassists. In this sense, the direct influence is still shaping the sounds we hear daily. For a pop bassist to be really well grounded and aware, the book is essential. The fact that many young players are perhaps ignoring this information is bound to happen to a certain extent. The real cats won't ignore it though.
  20. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Just look at Jamerson's impact on a young McCartney, and how many bassist McCartney influenced. Jamerson is almost the big bang theory when it comes to the electric bass in Pop music.;)