Its that time again folks. Forget the holiday season. October 12th is Hug a Bassist Day!
Give yourselves a hug, and if you’re inclined, take a solo!
Enrique Quique Fabrega has been posting jazz bassists from A to Z on the Bass Blogs FB group. The other day, he shared Jimmy Blanton. I only just got to read up on him and listen to the track he shared, and wow, I love his sound. This is what he posted (the middle 2 paragraphs are from Wikipedia):
Jazz bassists from A to Z. Beginning with letter B we have the legendary Double-Bass jazz Master Blanton(Jimmy).Jimmy Blanton was the Father of the Double-Bass as a Solo instrument!!! There is virtually NO bass player that hasn’t study Blanton solos, compositions, technique and voice on the instrument. All bass players today are in DEBT with Mr. Jimmy Blanton. Blanton IS the first true master of the jazz Double-Bass. Blanton is credited with being the originator of more complex pizzicato and arco bass solos in a jazz context than previous bassists.
Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Blanton originally learned to play the violin, but took up the bass while at Tennessee State University, performing with the Tennessee State Collegians from 1936 to 1937, and during the vacations with Fate Marable. After leaving university to play full-time in St Louis with the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra (with whom he made his first recordings), he joined Duke Ellington’s band in 1939.
Though he stayed with Ellington for only two years, Blanton made an incalculable contribution in changing the way the double bass was used in jazz. Previously the double bass was rarely used to play anything but quarter notes in ensemble or solos but by soloing on the bass more in a ‘horn like’ fashion, Blanton began sliding into eighth- and sixteenth-note runs, introducing melodic and harmonic ideas that were totally new to jazz bass playing. His virtuosity put him in a different class from his predecessors, making him the first true master of the jazz bass and demonstrating the instrument’s unsuspected potential as a solo instrument. Ellington put Blanton front-and-center on the bandstand nightly, unheard of for a bassist at the time. Such was his importance to Ellington’s band at the time, together with the tenor saxophonist Ben Webster _ Verve Records , that it became known as the Blanton–Webster band. Blanton also recorded a series of bass and piano duets with Ellington and played in the “small group” sessions led by Barney Bigard, Rex Stewart, Johnny Hodges , and Cootie Williams in 1940-41.
In this video we have a Great Jazz Duet between Duke Ellington – Verve Records and Jimmy Blanton performing Pitter Panther Patter.Enjoy!.
And here’s the track: