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Standing In The Shadows Of Motown: The Life And Music Of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson

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Guitar BookBassist James Jamerson was the embodiment of the Motown spirit and groove the invisible entity whose playing inspired thousands. His tumultuous life and musical brilliance are explored in depth through hundreds of interviews, 49 transcribed musical scores, two hours of recorded all-star performances, and more than 50 rarely seen photos in this stellar tribute to Guitar BookBassist James Jamerson was the embodiment of the Motown spirit and groove the invisible entity whose playing inspired thousands. His tumultuous life and musical brilliance are explored in depth through hundreds of interviews, 49 transcribed musical scores, two hours of recorded all-star performances, and more than 50 rarely seen photos in this stellar tribute to behind-the-scenes Motown. Features a 120-minute CD Allan Slutsky's 2002 documentary of the same name is the winner of the New York Film Critics "Best Documentary of the Year" award


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Guitar BookBassist James Jamerson was the embodiment of the Motown spirit and groove the invisible entity whose playing inspired thousands. His tumultuous life and musical brilliance are explored in depth through hundreds of interviews, 49 transcribed musical scores, two hours of recorded all-star performances, and more than 50 rarely seen photos in this stellar tribute to Guitar BookBassist James Jamerson was the embodiment of the Motown spirit and groove the invisible entity whose playing inspired thousands. His tumultuous life and musical brilliance are explored in depth through hundreds of interviews, 49 transcribed musical scores, two hours of recorded all-star performances, and more than 50 rarely seen photos in this stellar tribute to behind-the-scenes Motown. Features a 120-minute CD Allan Slutsky's 2002 documentary of the same name is the winner of the New York Film Critics "Best Documentary of the Year" award

30 review for Standing In The Shadows Of Motown: The Life And Music Of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson

  1. 5 out of 5

    Don Inman

    Hi, my names Don and I'm a music nerd. I'm here to disabuse you regarding the Barry Gordie myth. Barry Gordie did not grow Motown's catalog. The Fun Brothers did. And James Jamerson was the beat that drove the Funk Brothers, literally and figuratively. Yes he was an addict, a drinker, a womanizer and all those other evil nasty things attributed to black musicians. He was also the greatest bass player, yes I said greatest. Yes I'm willing to defend that. So don't be hating on me for being willing Hi, my names Don and I'm a music nerd. I'm here to disabuse you regarding the Barry Gordie myth. Barry Gordie did not grow Motown's catalog. The Fun Brothers did. And James Jamerson was the beat that drove the Funk Brothers, literally and figuratively. Yes he was an addict, a drinker, a womanizer and all those other evil nasty things attributed to black musicians. He was also the greatest bass player, yes I said greatest. Yes I'm willing to defend that. So don't be hating on me for being willing to take a stand that may go against grain. I cut my teeth on Motown music. The beat, the moves and the voices impressed this uber white boy from Iowa. The lyrics contained no threats of violence, no swearing, no demeaning misogynistic lyrics. Just music that everyone could dig. Like the Wolfman said "You gonna love it to death baby". The Funk Brothers were session musicians, or studio musicians. A bunch of misfits who gelled the Motown sound. Back then studio musicians didn't make much money. And even though they were playing for Motown they were still black, all but one, in a white dominated music world. So when Gordie moved to California he left Hitsville high and dry. The documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" tells the story. With no music jobs the musicians wandered Detroit looking for gigs. The story of James is the story of the Detroit sound. Can you dig it?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Monticello

    A must read for every Bass guitarist. James Jamerson is one of the most important musicians in the instruments history. The book is in three parts 1. Biography- exceptional. Well written and full of details about the man, and the funk brothers. Great information for everyone. 2. Technical information- includes analysis of his sound, discography, listing of all funk brothers, and a Chromatic exercise that James would do. The exercise is good for bassists the rest is great for anyone. 3. Excerpts o A must read for every Bass guitarist. James Jamerson is one of the most important musicians in the instruments history. The book is in three parts 1. Biography- exceptional. Well written and full of details about the man, and the funk brothers. Great information for everyone. 2. Technical information- includes analysis of his sound, discography, listing of all funk brothers, and a Chromatic exercise that James would do. The exercise is good for bassists the rest is great for anyone. 3. Excerpts of his songs in music with tributes by stars and an accompanying disk of the stars playing those excepts. The transcriptions are one of the best parts of the book. The stars tributes and recordings are not. I would have preferred to have samples of James playing his works. A video under the same name is available. It focuses on the entire band. This book focuses on James. For a brief bio on James, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Ja...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jason Das

    5 stars for existing and shining its light how and when it did. And for the 1980s, a pretty impressive multimedia effort. But there's a lot of room for improvement when/if there's ever market or passion enough for an updated version. This is the kind of book that deserves to be superseded in the best possible way: building something better on the original's foundation/blazed trail. Licks has passion and understanding, and I understand that some of the research done for this book is important, bu 5 stars for existing and shining its light how and when it did. And for the 1980s, a pretty impressive multimedia effort. But there's a lot of room for improvement when/if there's ever market or passion enough for an updated version. This is the kind of book that deserves to be superseded in the best possible way: building something better on the original's foundation/blazed trail. Licks has passion and understanding, and I understand that some of the research done for this book is important, but... He's not much as a writer. This story could be told better It would be great to have more background, more interviews, more (or at least higher quality) photos. Virtually everything that exists related to Jamerson would fit in one book; why be selective? It would be great to have tablature for the transcriptions, if only so more people could learn from them. The guest star bass players and the pages about them are a distraction; if that was a separate book/recording, I wouldn't read or listen to it. The original multitracks for these songs exist, and many have an isolated bass tracks. A Motown-blessed version with Jamerson's actual recordings would be the real thing we want and need, rather than the tribute-record hodgepodge. (But I know that's unlikely and was even less likely in 1988. Is the tribute record better than nothing? Not for me.)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Adam Rynczak

    As a musician, aspiring bass player, and general fan of music (especially when it's heavy on the low end) this is probably one of my favorite books and I generally don't read non-fiction. Give this a read if you love music (history), Motown, bass, or James Jamerson. I think this an enjoyable and great read for anyone, musical background or not unless, of course, you don't enjoy this sort of music. If you like funk though I can almost guarantee you'll like this book and appreciate the genius of t As a musician, aspiring bass player, and general fan of music (especially when it's heavy on the low end) this is probably one of my favorite books and I generally don't read non-fiction. Give this a read if you love music (history), Motown, bass, or James Jamerson. I think this an enjoyable and great read for anyone, musical background or not unless, of course, you don't enjoy this sort of music. If you like funk though I can almost guarantee you'll like this book and appreciate the genius of the great James Jamerson.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bjm Index

    7

  6. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Ray

    There's also a terrific documentary of the same name, imdb.com/title/tt0314725/reference featuring the surviving Funk Brothers and outstanding singers such as Joan Osborne and Bootsy Collins, singing their hits while the band plays. Awesome music. There's also a terrific documentary of the same name, imdb.com/title/tt0314725/reference featuring the surviving Funk Brothers and outstanding singers such as Joan Osborne and Bootsy Collins, singing their hits while the band plays. Awesome music.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rolan Velasquez

    Essential for any bass player student and teacher alike. Some of the best bass lines that come out of the US that are still influencing music to this day. A must have.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Washington

    This is a book that I have not read yet,but as soon as I get the chance to I will.I am interested in this book because,of course I love music,James Jamerson has been hailed as one the greatest bass of all time,he has played on some of the most memorable songs that we hear all the time,and he is from North Carolina.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Jamerson is magical.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Earl Schlubb

    This book was published in the 1980s and the layout design and the quality of the photos (b/w) leave a bit to be desired. The concept, however, is a real treat. The reader is presented initially with a simple biography of Jamerson, which of course will appeal to those who are interested in learning about a musician who was tremendously influential but who remained nameless to most listeners. The book then moves into a section of specially recorded song versions with bass in the left channel and This book was published in the 1980s and the layout design and the quality of the photos (b/w) leave a bit to be desired. The concept, however, is a real treat. The reader is presented initially with a simple biography of Jamerson, which of course will appeal to those who are interested in learning about a musician who was tremendously influential but who remained nameless to most listeners. The book then moves into a section of specially recorded song versions with bass in the left channel and a backing track in the right. Various bassists played their versions of James Jamerson's bass lines from familiar and not-so-familiar Motown (and other) tunes. (Although I am not an expert, I think that most of the guest musicians played renditions that are close to the original transcriptions.) The reader is presented with a short bit on the musician and his work, and then the musical notation for the track(s) is included. (There is no tablature provided, and many of the tracks' sheet music is pretty rough for beginners.) I would love to see more books like this on other musicians and their work. I now have a much better idea of the historical context in which James Jamerson worked, and the sheet music + tracks on the CD is a great addition. I removed one star because the editing is not the greatest—there are far too many errors in the prose (things like "it's" when possessive "its" should have been used), and they detracted from this stickler's experience, although not to a great extent.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wade

    Inspirational story of one of the most important musicians in history and a great resource. Some reviewers have criticised the recordings of Jamerson's work by other top bass players which are included in this book. Although I've rarely listened to/used them - preferring instead to use the original recordings with Jamerson, or the isolated tracks available on youtube - it is interesting to hear other legendary players have a go at playing Jamerson's parts. A few even sight read the transcription Inspirational story of one of the most important musicians in history and a great resource. Some reviewers have criticised the recordings of Jamerson's work by other top bass players which are included in this book. Although I've rarely listened to/used them - preferring instead to use the original recordings with Jamerson, or the isolated tracks available on youtube - it is interesting to hear other legendary players have a go at playing Jamerson's parts. A few even sight read the transcriptions for these recordings. Some reviewers would prefer better or clearer photos. It's possible that these are the only photos in existence. Some reviewers would like TAB to be included. Here's an idea: Write the names of the notes underneath. Or work through the notation slowly and TAB it out yourself. Or do both. Jamerson could read music. Perhaps you should learn too :) Some reviewers would prefer a better researched/written biography. I guess this would be interesting. However, Jamerson appears to have had a career as an anonymous, genius exponent of the bass, who spent all day and night playing music. I don't think he composed music, words, poems, nor was he a political activist. Other than the musical analysis and life anecdotes contained in this book and movie of the same name, what else would Jamerson have had time to do?

  12. 4 out of 5

    John Tarves

    Interesting book about one of the best bass players ever - who put his imprint on so many of the hits of Motown records. Lots of primary sources recounting the stories of Jamerson's life and his music. Really neat feature of a link (provided on title page) of a link to many of the top bassists in the world playing his lines. Great bonus! Would especially be of interest to any bass guitar players. Interesting book about one of the best bass players ever - who put his imprint on so many of the hits of Motown records. Lots of primary sources recounting the stories of Jamerson's life and his music. Really neat feature of a link (provided on title page) of a link to many of the top bassists in the world playing his lines. Great bonus! Would especially be of interest to any bass guitar players.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brendan

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marc

  15. 5 out of 5

    smudge

  16. 4 out of 5

    Leo Balboni

  17. 4 out of 5

    P

  18. 5 out of 5

    David Lieberman

  19. 4 out of 5

    Remi

  20. 4 out of 5

    A.J.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Adam Bennick

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aarnvs

  23. 4 out of 5

    Matt ONeil

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Steve Richards

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ian

  29. 5 out of 5

    John J Garner

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bob

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