Jerry Jemmott


Jerry Jemmott was one of the preeminent session bassists of the late ’60s and early ’70s, working with an impressive cross-section of the era’s finest soul, jazz, and blues artists. Gerald Joseph Stenhouse Jemmott grew up in New York City and began playing the bass when he discovered Paul Chambers at age ten; by age 12, he was already skilled enough to perform in public, and studied Charles Mingus intensely. He got his big break when he was discovered by R&B/jazz saxophonist King Curtis, and played on his first recording sessions in 1966, including Nina Simone’s The Blues album. Thanks to his Atlantic Records connection through Curtis, Jemmott soon found work backing other Atlantic soul stars, like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, the Rascals, Clarence Carter, Don Covay, and Roberta Flack. But that was just the tip of the iceberg; Jemmott also recorded with blues legends like B.B. King, Freddie King, Otis Rush, and Champion Jack Dupree over the next decade, and backed jazz stars like Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Les McCann, Eddie Harris, Shirley Scott, Houston Person, George Benson, Archie Shepp, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Mann, Eddie Palmieri, and Richard “Groove” Holmes. Around 1975, Jemmott’s session activity started to tail off; in the years that followed, he worked in both film and theater as an arranger and conductor, and produced several instructional books and videos on the art of bass playing (including one in tandem with Jaco Pastorius). In more recent years, Jemmott recorded two albums for the Japanese P-Vine label, Caught in the Low Beam (a tribute to his favorite influences) and The New York View, while continuing his activities as an educator. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide