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“J” is for Jamerson, James (1936-1983)

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South Carolina from A to Z: “J” is for Jamerson, James (1936-1983)

“J” is for Jamerson, James (1936-1983). Musician. A native Charlestonian, Jamerson moved to Detroit when he was eighteen. Already a talented musician (on piano and trumpet), he took up a new instrument: the upright bass. Playing with local jazz and blues bands, he quickly established himself as one of the hottest bassists in the city. By the early 1960s he was associated with the Motown record label. As a cornerstone of Motown’s renowned studio band, the “Funk Brothers,” his skill and style on the bass became legendary. He played on almost every Motown record during its 1963-1969 heyday, providing the groove for such immortal records as “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” and Marvin Gaye’s classic album What’s Going On. James Jamerson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.