(SOUNDBITE OF DUKE ELLINGTON'S "PITTER PANTHER PATTER"). jack the bear“Jack the Bear” by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra. Now he was cultivating another precocious talent - a bass player who'd worked the boats and had just turned 21. After Jimmy Blanton made bass sound like a giant guitar, there was no going back. All About Jazz musician pages are maintained by musicians, publicists and trusted members like you. This is from "Mr. J.B Blues.". Adapted from article “Remembering Jimmy Blanton” by Scott Pollard at ‘all about jazz.’, Photo courtesy of Frank Driggs Collection. The clearest evidence of Ellington’s enthusiasm is that he recorded a series of duets with the young bassist, something he rarely did in his seventy-some year career. What is the primary innovation of bassist, Jimmy Blanton? Interested? What was remarkable was the quality of the music Ellington wrote for these musicians, and how well they interpreted and recorded it. Find Jimmy Blanton bio, music, credits, awards, & streaming links on AllMusic - Jazz bassist who worked with Duke Ellington… After Jimmy Blanton made bass sound like a giant guitar, there was no going back. Marable had run the riverboat band 17-year-old Louis Armstrong had once played in. He broke up his phrasing and got a plump singing tone from plucked strings. used chord substitutions. WHITEHEAD: Slam Stewart, that's pretty tight. While on tour with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in late 1941, Blanton became seriously ill and entered Los Angeles Hospital. Without Jimmy Blanton the string bass might still be little more than a bulky time keeper —  there might have never been a School Days for us to listen to all weekend, which is an ironic thing to do when you think about it. In the 1930s, Walter Page brought a springy, swing feel to the bass that lifted the whole Count Basie band. Having him in the orchestra gave Ellington fresh ideas. Gene Krupa. But his two years on the scene had a huge impact. And yet somehow, it's OK. Blanton gets a big roaring sound from the bass - makes it sing from its bullfrog belly. Blanton truly turned the musical world onto the possibilities of using the bass as a melodic instrument, both bowed and plucked. Tell us why you would like to improve the Jimmy Blanton musician page. (SOUNDBITE OF DUKE ELLINGTON'S "MR. J.B. BLUES"). Currently he reviews for The Audio Beat and Point of Departure. Our own personal copy of the 45rpm EP RCA/Victor put out is in pretty poor shape, and doesn’t even have the jacket. It was his quality of levitating the sound by his superior musicianship which inspired the other members of the band to rise to the occasion. According to Miles Davis, Blanton sat in one night with Davis during his stint with the Blue Devils, the house band at the Rhumboogie Club. In autumn 1939, the twenty-one year old Blanton started playing on a regular basis at the Coronado Hotel Ballroom in St. Louis. But Blanton, with his violin training, heard bass violin as a melodic solo voice. Duke himself wrote and recorded some piano/ bass duets specifically with and for Blanton. Libra Named Jimmy #13. WHITEHEAD: Blanton's left hand might roam the neck of the bass, grabbing a few odd notes. This is FRESH AIR. Blanton's admirer Gunther Schuller pointed out that Slam Stewart played crisper, more accurate solos with a bow and earlier. If the opening of “Jack the Bear” sounds decidedly modern for a recording from 1940, that’s because it is one of the very first of its kind. Yesterday we posted about Stanley Clarke’s 1976 jazz fusion classic School Days, which is pretty essential listening for electric bassist and the people who love them — today’s post is about another bassist who may seem obscure until you hear a little of his playing — He was surely one of the most influential performers in the instrument’s history. WHITEHEAD: The string bass, the double bass, the bass violin has been part of jazz bands from the beginning. ", (SOUNDBITE OF DUKE ELLINGTON'S "PLUCKED AGAIN"). After his third year of college, Blanton packed up and moved to St. Louis. Birth of the Bass: Blanton Inspired a Line of Successors, Jazz Juniors Network Discussion Panel: Requirements Of The Contemporary Music Market. Blanton took it upon himself to solo a little on “Concerto for Cootie” even though it wasn’t named for him (his own song would come later and appears further down in this post). In his solos, he varied from the usual walking bass lines, and was innovative and inventive in his approach to ensemble playing as well. He changed the bass forever. Wendell Marshall (October 24, 1920, St. Louis, Missouri – February 6, 2002, St. Louis) was an American jazz double-bassist.. Marshall was Jimmy Blanton's cousin. And in doing so, he found himself playing a little more than just the steady quarter notes that kept time in jazz arrangements up until 1940. He had a fluent, buoyant sense of swing, matched with a unique sense of intonation. This is Milt Hinton with Cab Calloway's band, two months before Ellington met Blanton. Jimmy Blanton got pocket solos and short breaks within the orchestra, but his real showcases were his six duets with Duke. With these two formidable musicians in place, the Ellington band entered its golden age. improvised in a melodic way, beyond simple walking lines. That makes sense. He is joined by bassist Ray Brown, who is probably best known to jazz fans for his work with Oscar Peterson. James “Jimmy” Blanton was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in October of 1918. While studying at Tennessee State College, he switched to the string bass and started playing with the State Collegians and local bands led by “Bugs” Roberts and drummer Joe Smith. Duke Ellington was always one to recognize talent, and he loved writing arrangements that featured specific members of the Orchestra. Originator for the pizzicato and arco bass solos and who played with Duke Ellington's band. Here's Slam in 1938. Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time. Jimmy Blanton immediately changed the sound and pulse of the orchestra. Membership has its privileges. On “Jack the Bear” Blanton take on the role of a soloist in the great romantic concertos of the 19th century (think Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor, or Grieg’s in A Minor), where a single performer is said to be battling the entire orchestra. One hundred years ago today, on October 5, jazz virtuoso Jimmy Blanton was born in Chattanooga, Tenn. Blanton played violin as a child before switching to the string bass in college. Coming up, film critic David Edelstein reviews the newest adaptation of "A Star Is Born" starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. I checked out Jimmy Blanton bowing Body and Soul with Duke for the first time, and I must say that that is the coolest bowed jazz bass sound I have ever heard (intonation not withstanding). The Duke Ellington Centennial Collection (an extraordinary 24-disc box set) includes all four of the duets originally released, plus two more (“Plucked Again” and “Blues”) previously only on an oddball collection.