Jerry Jemmott (King Kurtis, Aretha Franklin)

Courtesy of Ampeg Courtesy of Ampeg

Courtesy of Ampeg

By Thomas Semioli


“Jerry never does anything just because it’s right to do, he likes to do it because it feels good…” B.B. King.


A true giant of the instrument – Jaco Pastorius cited Jerry Jemmott aka “The Groovemaster” as his favorite player and mentor. And when you hear (and feel) Jerry’s bass artistry on scores of tracks, you can obviously understand why. A disciple of Paul Chambers and Charles Mingus – Jemmott owns “the pocket.” Greatly inspired by Paul Chambers, Jerry often stretches the harmonic and rhythmic boundaries akin to his mentor.


Along with James Jamerson, Duck Dunn, Carol Kaye, and Chuck Rainey – Jerry Jemmott played a major role in establishing the electric bass in the studio and on the bandstand.


Jemmott was among Atlantic Records’ most prodigious session cats during their golden era – appearing on such landmark recordings by Aretha Franklin (Soul ’69, Aretha Now!, Live at the Fillmore), The Rascals (Freedom Suite, Peaceful World), King Curtis (Live at the Fillmore, Everybody’s Talkin’), and Roberta Flack, plus numerous sides by George Benson (The Other Side of Abbey Road, Tell It Like It Is), Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Gil Scott-Heron, Janis Ian, Herbie Hancock, Wilson Pickett and Herbie Mann to cite a very, very select few.


Jerry is also a prolific solo recording artist, waxing sides which meld blues, funk, soul, and reggae under his name and the moniker Jerry Jemmott & Souler Energy.


Bass Player cited Jerry with a lifetime achievement award in 2001. Be sure to seek out the video Jaco Pastorius Modern Electric Bass, hosted by Jerry. Dig the way Pastorius’ heartfelt admiration and reverence for Jerry bursts forth in that historic meeting.


Jerry’s main weapon of choice during his 60s/70s heyday was the Fender Jazz.


Jerry Jemmott Sound & Vision

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” Gil Scott-Heron

“People Got to Be Free” The Rascals

“Memphis Soul Stew” King Curtis & The Kingpins:

“The Thrill is Gone” B.B. King

“Ain’t Got No I Got Life” Nina Simone

“Tracks of My Tears” Aretha Franklin

“Soul Limbo” George Benson

“Soul Turnaround” Freddie Hubbard