In what would have been his 75th year on the planet he plied with perpetual pulse, the late Motown master James Jamerson will be recognized with Bass Player’s inaugural Posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award at Bass Player LIVE!. The award will be presented to James’s son, bassist James Jamerson, Jr. by longtime Jamerson advocate Anthony Jackson. Additionally, the pair will host a clinic examining Jamerson’s all-pervasive style through key recorded examples and remembrances. Also in the works is a related performance at the BP Live concert (stay tuned).
Over the course of his brilliant three-decade career the South Carolina-born, Detroit-raised Jamerson wrote the bible on bass line construction, grooves, fingerboard shapes, tone, touch, and phrasing, while raising the artistry of improvised bass playing in popular music to zenith levels. As Funk Brother #1 in Motown’s “Snake Pit,” Jamerson customized his approach to fit the style of each key artist he cut with, including Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross & The Supremes, the Four Tops, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson, and the Jackson 5.
Relocating to Los Angeles in the early ’70s, he spread his legendary sound via numerous non-Motown hits like “Rock the Boat” and “Boogie Fever” before his untimely passing in 1983, at age 47. In the ensuing years, Jamerson’s far-reaching influence on bassists globally, as well as his impact on modern music have come into sharper focus through such projects as Standing in the Shadows of Motown (Allan Slutsky’s book and film documentary), How the Fender Bass Changed the World (by founding BP editor Jim Roberts), and his 2000 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Congratulations to the Jamerson family and thank you James!