Jerry Jemmott

Gerald Stenhouse “Jerry” Jemmott (born March 22, 1946, in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, New York City) is an American bass guitarist. Also known as Gerald “Fingers” Jemmott, Rasan Mfalme or “the Groovemaster“, Jemmott was one of the chief session bassists of the late 1960s and early 1970s, working with many of the period’s well-known soul, blues, and jazz artists.

Biography

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Jemmott, who has won two Grammy Awards as a bassist, began playing the acoustic bass when he discovered Paul Chambers at age 10. Jemmott began his career at age 12, and after switching to the electric bass, was discovered by saxophonist King Curtis in 1966. With his connection through Curtis to Atlantic Records, Jemmott soon began recording with other Atlantic recording artists, including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, the Rascals, Roberta Flack and Margie Joseph. Jemmott also recorded with noted blues artists B.B. King, Freddie King, Chuck Berry, Duane Allman, Otis Rush, Champion Jack Dupree, Mike Bloomfield and backed jazz artists Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Erroll Garner, Les McCann, Eddie Harris, Houston Person, George Benson, Archie Shepp, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Mann, Eddie Palmieri and Charles Earland. He played the bass line for the original recording of “Mr. Bojangles”, and contributed to B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone.”

After Jemmott’s recording sessions started to decline in 1975, he continued to work in film and theater as an arranger and conductor,[1] working with John Williams, The Boston Pops and Bette Midler.Jemmott was cited as a major influence by fellow jazz bass guitar pioneer, Jaco Pastorius, who incorporated Jemmott’s stuttering funk basslines into his own syncopated style. Jemmott was also the host and had a hand in the production of the instructional video Modern Electric Bass which featured lessons and guidance by Pastorius and was released in 1986.

Jerry Jemmott began his solo career in 1978 playing rhythm ‘n blues, jazz, blues, reggae, and soul, always with a special nod to King Curtis, as “Jerry Jemmott & Souler Energy” a group that over the years included Roger Rosenberg, Kirk Nurock, Neal Creque, Steve Skinner, Erroll Cornin, Steve Berios, Arlen Roth, Eric Gale, Melvin Sparks, Bernard Purdie, Pattience Higgins, Lou Marini & Seldon Powelll. He later formed Jerry Jemmott’s Right Reverend Jakie Neckbone Jubilee Special and performed a mix of his original “Cool Groove” songs and music along with his classic hits in addition to presenting his “Soul Kitchen”, improvisation workshops and clinics. The members over time were Frankie Paris, Catherine Russell, Herb Rawlins, Tina Fabrique, Angel Rissoff, Tony, Thunder Smith, Charlie Kolmeyer, Seth Farber, George Naha, Connie Malone,Tom Kaelin, Stan Wright & Wally Gator Watson.

Jemmott recorded solo recordings for the Japanese P-Vine Records, Caught in the Low Beam and The New York View, as well as Make It Happen! for WhatchaGonnaDo Records. Jemmott continues to work as an educator teaching workshops and clinics, has written articles, four books, and released audio and video bass instruction material. He is the recipient of the 2001 Bass Player magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award and Chairman of the Electric Bass Department at the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists Inc. In 2009 Jemmott joined Gregg Allman’s backing band (“Gregg Allman & Friends”) in addition to Cornell Dupree’s Soul Survivors. That same year, he was one of many very special guests at The Allman Brothers Band’s 40th anniversary at the Beacon Theatre, in New York City. This was an auspicious special version of the Allman’s annual multiple-night stand there, including artists as varied as Levon Helm, members of Phish, Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter, and Sonny Rollins, amongst the participants, who came in part, to honor the late Duane Allman

Ordained in the deep and fertile roots of the blues, jazz & rhythm ‘n blues as a member of King Curtis & The Kingpins, Jerry has recorded his new all star band of internationally acclaimed iconic performers committed to taking the music to the people, and is here to continue the soulful legacy that defines the Kingpins style. With their first Cd “Addiction” The Kingpins bring it all together as they take this music of the people to the people; at festivals, arenas, music venues and schools around the world. This cast of all stars, many of whom are also Grammy & Emmy Award winners and nominees, includes Mike Finnigan, Guitar Shorty, David Garfield, Dr. John Altman, & Steve Ferrone.

Discography

Solo
  • New York View (P-Vine Records December 25, 1995)
  • Make It Happen! (Whatchagonnado? 2005)
  • Home Cookin’ (Whatchagonnado? 2006)
  • Bass on the Case (Whachagonnado? 2009)
  • Addiction (Whachagonnado? 2014)

As sideman

With Candido Camero

  • Beautiful (Blue Note, 1970)

With Hank Crawford

  • Mr. Blues Plays Lady Soul (Atlantic, 1969)

With Eddie Harris

  • Second Movement (Atlantic, 1971) – with Les McCann

With King Curtis

  • Live at Fillmore West (Atlantic, 1971)

With Richard Groove Holmes

  • Comin’ on Home (Blue Note, 1971)
  • American Pie (Groove Merchant, 1972)

With Herbie Mann

  • Turtle Bay (Atlantic, 1973)

With Houston Person

  • Houston Express (Prestige, 1970)

With Shirley Scott

  • Shirley Scott & the Soul Saxes (Atlantic, 1969)

With Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper

  • Fillmore East: The Lost Concert Tapes 12-13-68 (Columbia, 2003)

With Aretha Franklin

  • Aretha Now (Atlantic, 1968)
  • Soul ’69 (Atlantic, 1969)
  • Live at Fillmore West (Atlantic, 1971)
  • Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky) (Atlantic, 1973)
  • Aretha’s Jazz (Atlantic, 1984)

With George Benson

  • Tell it Like it Is (A&M, 1968)
  • The Other Side of Abbey Road (A&M, 1970)

With Laura Nyro

  • Walk The Dog And Light The Light (Columbia/Sony, 1993) (titletrack only)
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