James Jamerson - Bassist bij Motown


January 29th 1936 - August 2nd 1983

Image Legendary Motown bassist James Jamerson single-handedly revolutionized bass playing . Jamerson was the nucleus of Motown's core musician's known, only to themselves, as the "Funk Brothers" in the 60's. He played Bass guitar on over 95% of all Motown music of the 60's and part of the early 70's. Jamerson played on over 80 hit number one songs for Motown, and played on literally everyone artists recordings. Everyone from Martha and the Vandellas, The Supremes, Junior Walker and the All Stars, The Marvelettes, the Velvelettes, The Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, The Temptations, Barrett Strong, Sammy Ward, Kim Weston, Marvin Gaye & Tammie Terrell, The Four Tops, and hundreds more have experienced the artistry of Jamerson.

Foto rechts : James Jamerson  & Mary Wells

In the 90's after four decades of obscurity, musicians and music lovers throughout the world were discovering the holy grail of the bass world-James Jamerson, the tormented genius whose earthquake-heavy bass lines fueled the Motown hit machine through the '60s and '70s. Even though late, he is finally getting his long overdue recognition.Enigmatic in life, overlooked in death, he dramatically, forever, altered the sound of contemporary music.

ImageJames Jamerson has influenced (whether they know it or not) every electric bassist to ever pick up the instrument. James' bass playing evolved 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. He was, by any definition, a genius. "Jamerson terrified bassists all over the world," says Slutsky. "Still does." With Motown archivist Harry Weinger, Slutsky got a chance to hear Jamerson parts isolated from the other tracks. It was a breathtaking event. "I was floored. They were just dripping with testosterone, bad whiskey, bad breath," says Slutsky. "It was the funkiest, grungiest thing I had ever heard in my life. It was like every single note was ready to explode." But it was more than just the bass lines -- whether the familiar stutter of "Bernadette" or the one many call his best, Stevie Wonder's "I Was Made to Love Her." "The thing laymen have to understand is that music is built from the bottom up," says Slutsky. "James was the bottom. When he changed the way the bottom functioned and sounded, it changed everything up the line.", But alas neither James or any of the Funk Brothers where given any credits by Motown or by the singing stars who flew to fame from Motown ... the forgotten, unsung, underpaid heroes of Motown. 1972 marked the abrupt end of the "Motown Sound " when Berry Gordy moved the company from Detroit to Los Angeles, without warning leaving the Funk Brothers behind and unemployed. Some of the Funk Brothers including James Jamerson died of a broken heart because they were never recognized during their lifetimes.