Groove – Episode #2: Jerry Jemmott
There is a memorable scene in the Modern Electric Bass instructional video from 1986, when Jerry Jemmott asks Jaco Pastorius who really influenced the development of his playing style. Without missing a beat, Pastorius starts riffing on some of Jemmott’s classic funk bass lines. He talks about how he would listen to the radio, and try to emulate the sounds coming from those Atlantic Records grooves when he was a kid. He didn’t even know that many of those different songs featured Jemmott’s playing until years later.
Being known as one of Jaco’s main influences is almost as impressive as Jemmott’s discography. The two-time Grammy Award winning bassist was one of the few who could cross genres and play with soul, blues and jazz artists. B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and we’re not even beginning to scratch the surface on who Jemmott has played with. It’s quite possible that if you’re listening to radio (terrestrial or satellite) at some point during the day, you will come across a song that he has played on. Not one to sit in the studio playing on other people’s creations, Jemmott also built a substantive career as a solo artists back in 1978, along with becoming involved in film and theater as an arranger and conductor. That work led him to work with The Boston Pops, Bette Midler and John Williams.
In this second episode of Groove – The No Treble Podcast, we talk about what he’s working on next, how he got connected to the Jaco documentary and how he thinks about the bass as an instrument of creativity and invention. Enjoy the conversation…