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Jimmy Blanton

There’s an unbelievably tragic symmetry between your lives of Jimmy Blanton and Charlie Christian. Both had been string players who broke right into a main big music group in nov 1939, totally rewrote the vocabularies of the instruments, hardly ever led recording periods of their very own, played on the prophetic birth-of-bop jam periods at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, and passed away in the same illness within their twenties within the same season. In Blanton’s case, he fractured the 4/4 meter straitjacket that acquired shackled bass players before him. Along with his big curved tone, versatile technique, superb feeling of golf swing, and fluent creativity with both a bow and fingertips, Blanton’s bass could dance openly around the music group and phrase such as a horn, all without undermining the music’s bass base. Blanton began to play the bass skillfully in regional Chattanooga groupings led by his mom, a pianist. After briefly going to Tennessee State University, he relocated to St. Louis where he became a member of the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra and Destiny Marable’s riverboat rings, where Duke Ellington noticed him and added him to his music group. Blanton’s introduction helped spur the Ellington music group into a main creative phase, as well as the youthful bassist created a number of the 1st essential bass solos in jazz in such Ellington compositions as “Ko Ko,” “Jack port the Carry,” and “Concerto for Cootie.” Furthermore, Blanton recorded some duets with Ellington on piano, probably the most astounding which may be the playful “Pitter Panther Patter.” In 1941, having been identified as having congenital tuberculosis, Blanton was pressured to retire to some California sanatorium, where he passed away a few weeks later on. Blanton’s legacy became the model for bass players on the next twenty years — Charles Mingus, Oscar Pettiford, and Ray Dark brown all reveal his impact — and he is able to be noticed to excellent benefit within the two-CD The Essential Duke Ellington, Vols. 5 & 6 (1940) (RCA Monochrome Series).

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