The legendary bassist Jimmy Blanton(3)

December 14. 2016


Today I want post about his distinguished performance.

Jimmy Blanton (1918-42) was a musical originator of modern jazz bass.

Blanton established the possibilities of using the bass as a melodic instrument.

Until then bass player had primarily engraved accurate rhythm.


Photo above of Slam Stewart

In swing era Slam Stewart was the first bassist to make the bass a solo vehicle for improvisation.

Jimmy Blanton took the bass to a new level.

He played a horn-like solos in duets with Duke Ellington.

Blanton had developed a new bass technique of playing lines that sounded more like a horn than like a bass.


I quoted from “The Swing Era by Gunther Schuller” (New York :Oxford. 1989)

“Most importantly, he was the first to develop the lone tone in pizzicato… Blanton maximized the natural resonance of the string by using as much of the fleshy length of the finger as possible—plucking the string with the finger parallel to the string”

When Duke Ellington first heard Blanton’s performance, Ellington was impressed with his advanced techniques.

Consequently an arrangement of Duke Ellington had been changed by his joining.

I think it is a case where an outstanding instrument player has evolved jazz.


Here is Duke Ellington and his members play “C Jam Blues”(1942).
Duke Ellington (p),Barney Bigard(cl),Sonny Greer(ds),Ray Nance (violin),’Tricky Sam’ Nanton(Tb),Rex Stewart(tp),Ben Webster(ts),Jimmy Blanton(b)

Here is Jimmy Blanton plays “Sepia Panorama”(his rare bass solo)

Here is Duke Ellington & Jimmy Blanton play “Jive Rhapsody”.



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