JET HARRIS, 1939–2011

THE BASS WORLD SUFFERED ANOTHER BLOW WITH THE PASSING OF TERENCE “Jet” Harris, the original bassist for the Shadows.
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THE BASS WORLD SUFFERED ANOTHER BLOW WITH THE PASSING OF TERENCE “Jet” Harris, the original bassist for the Shadows. After a two-year battle with cancer, the London-born musician died on March 18 at age 71. Jet notched up a wealth of hits in the late ’50s and early ’60s with Cliff Richard, as a solo artist, and as a duo with Tony Meehan. Harris was among the earliest British adopters of the electric bass (a Framus), and is often cited as the first U.K. bassist to get his hands on a Fender Precision. He was also a notable exponent of the Fender Bass VI.

Following a serious car accident in 1963, Jet struggled with depression and alcohol problems and dropped from the scene for 20 years—although he began touring and recording again in the ’80s, appearing live as recently as February. “British bass players of my generation learned everything they knew from him,” said ex-Jethro Tull bassist Glenn Cornick. “We copied every note he played. His solo on “Nivram” [The Shadows, Columbia, 1961] was the first bass solo that any of us had ever heard, and 50 years later I can still play it. There were other bass players with other bands, but there was nobody as important as Jet.”

In 1998, Fender recognized Harris’s role in raising the bass guitar’s profile in Britain with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2010, Queen Elizabeth II presented him with an MBE for services to Music. —STEVIE GLASGOW


Jerome Harris On Acoustic Bass Guitar

IT WAS ON A EUROPEAN TOUR WITH SONNY ROLLINS in the late ’80s when Jerome Harris first got turned on to the acoustic bass guitar. Jerome had been playing a Fender Precision Bass with the legendary tenor saxophonist, but after encountering the warm, round tones of the acoustic bass guitar one afternoon in Amsterdam, Harris was inspired to acquire one for himself. “I wanted something I could play on a straightahead jazz gig without getting the hairy eyeball,” says Harris. “That’s generally how straight-ahead cats would look at me when I’d pull out my Fender P-Bass. I’ve certainly studied upright jazz style, but I’ve never taken that beast on,” says the native New Yorker. “I thought about getting a double bass when I was studying at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, but I couldn’t find one I could afford. Since I was already playing guitar and bass guitar, I figured I’d have to drop something if I were to seriously study double bass. For me, the acoustic

Stefon Harris and Blackout

Stefon Harris and Blackout Urbanus [Concord Jazz, 2009] Washington, D.C. native Ben Williams first met vibraphonist/composer Stefon Harris when Williams was an 8th grader. Apparently it was just the head start he needed to get into this absolutely burning modern jazz outfit before even turning 25. This group is not screwing around; the heads, forms, syncopations, and grooves drawing on everything from swing, R&B, funk, pop and hip-hop are aggressive, challenging, and downright butt-shaking when they want to be. Williams has already won a bunch of jazz competition awards and played with Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, and Meshell Ndegeocello, but in case you need further convincing, moments in three consecutive tracks will blow your hair back: the funky unison ostinato in “Tankitifed,” the syncopations and bass breaks over the upswing blues form of “Shake It For Me,” and the frenetic hard swing groove in the jagged “Minor March.” The album’s bon