James Jamerson was one of the most influential bass players of all time - a session musician whose bass lines can be heard on most of the Motown hits in the 1960's and early 1970's. In fact, his bass playing is considered an integral part to the Motown sound.
Jamerson played with a small, close-knit group of musicians known as "The Funk Brothers," who played most of the Motown hits without much recognition.
One interesting fact about Jamerson's playing style is how he carried over the one finger plucking method from upright over to the electric bass. Jamerson's index finger was later known as "The Hook," and it remains a mystery how he was able to execute some of his lines playing this way.
Smooth, funky, and cool. Nothing fancy, just an amazing solid bass groove that makes this song what it is. If you know James Jamerson, you know this song.
One of Jamerson's more elaborate bass lines, this is one poppin' little bass number. Once again, I don't know what this song would be without Jamerson's stamp on it.
This is one funky groove that drives the entire song. I think I could listen to just the bass part over and over. Great example to hear the amazing Jamerson tone.
Simply one of the prettiest and yet funky bass lines ever thrown down. Another one of Jamerson's more elaborate lines, as well as some of the highest notes I've heard him play. The bass is all over the place, but fits in all the right places and brings everything together.
Why did this one beat out "What's going on," by Marvin Gaye? Simply play the first few bars of only the bass part and more than half the people in the room will immediately know what song you're playing. I can't think of many other songs that would be immediately recognizable by the majority of people - just by a few notes of the bass part! With that kind of notoriety you must know this bass line.
Obviously there are many others that didn't make the cut, but if you're looking for more check out "What's going on" by Marvin Gaye, "For once in my life" by Stevie Wonder, and "(Reach Out) I'll Be There" by The Four Tops.
Check out the "James Jamerson Playlist" link at the bottom - a link to a playlist I made with all of these Jamerson songs and more to listen for free on GrooveShark!
select one here...