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James Jamerson on You Tube

August 22, 2007

This is the only video I could find of James Jamerson — he’s accompanying Marvin Gaye on What’s Going On. What a fantastically HIP bass player. As I said in an earlier post, he shows his jazz influence by playing a very subtle bass part — and yes, that’s within the confines of a relatively simple harmonic structure. All this yet the part fits beautifully and doesn’t intrude on the vocal. Wonderful!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9KC7uhMY9s

However, this live performance is marred by an uninspired piano solo from Marvin Gaye. This solo would never have made it onto a studio recording and would have been edited out — and rightfully so.

Furthermore, James looks a little like he’s going through the motions, but the genius and wonderful technique is still there. I note from watching his fretwork how MUCH of the range of the instrument he covers — this makes for a full, expansive sound which still has a subtlety about it. I love it!

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