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Watch Animated Visualisations of the Bass Lines for Motown Classics

James Jamerson is the Schoenberg of getting from the I chord to the IV chord. He’s algorithmically generating a new pattern every phrase…[He] belongs with Bach, Debussy and Mozart.

- Jack Stratton

Sideman James Jamerson, Paul McCartney’s musical hero and a co-author of the Motown sound, is a great illustration of the bass’ importance in pop and R&B history.

He kept a funky beat for such artists as Stevie Wonder, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, and the Supremes. His low notes helped the harmonies sing.

Jack Stratton, leader of the modern American funk band, Vulfpeck, named Jamerson to his Holy Trinity of Bass, along with Chic’s Bernard Edwards and Sly and the Family Stone’s Larry Graham.

(Joe Dart, Vulfpeck’s bassist, is a pretty hot ticket too.)

Stratton's reverence extended to a side project in which he visually plots some of Jamerson’s savoriest baselines.

Check out the craggy peaks and valleys on Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell's famous rendition of Ashford & Simpson’s "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," above.

No wonder it’s the most listened to isolated bass track on No Treble, the online magazine for bass players.

Stratton’s visualisations of the Jameson lines for Stevie Wonder’s "I Was Made to Love Her" and "For Once In My Life" are pretty mesmerising too.

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