Legendary bassist Jerry Jemmott and the story of “Mona”, his beloved J-bass!
Jerry Jemmott was one of the chief session bass guitarists of the late 1960s and early 1970s, working with many of the period’s well-known soul, blues and jazz artists. He continues to perform and record professionally today and is highly regarded throughout the international music community.
A two-time Grammy Award winner as a bassist, Jemmott was discovered by saxophonist King Curtis in 1967. With his connection through Curtis to Atlantic Records, he soon began recording with other Atlantic recording artists, including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, the Rascals, Roberta Flack, and Margie Joseph. He also recorded with B.B. King, Freddie King, Chuck Berry, Otis Rush, Champion Jack Dupree, Mike Bloomfield and accompanied Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Erroll Garner, Les McCann, Eddie Harris, Houston Person, George Benson, Archie Shepp, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Mann, Eddie Palmieri and Charles Earland.
“I got Mona after my first jazz bass was stolen out of the control room of A&R Recording Studio A, between sessions for different producers back in 1968. I had recorded Aretha Franklin, Carolyn, Erma Franklin, The Rascals and Wilson Pickett with that bass that had a great sound that the engineers marveled over. It was a shock to everyone that afternoon when we discovered my bass was stolen after returning from lunch!
“I went to a pawn shop on 8th Avenue and got “Mona“, although she didn’t have a name then, and she’s gone through many changes and neck swaps and upgrades over the years while I continued to record Aretha, BB King, Freddie King, Freddie Hubbard and everything and everyone else since then.” ~Jerry Jemmott
Jerry Jemmott with his beloved “Mona”, equipped with Babicz Full Contact Hardware
“In 1974 an innovative company called Circuit Ideas came up with the intriguing knobs and switches that did a number of things like put the bass in and out of phase, master volume, kill switch and charging the onboard preamp directly into a wall outlet. Somewhere around 2012 Mike Plunkett, Artist Relations rep for AP International, introduced me to the Babicz Full Contact Hardware® bridge….(ever since) the strings stayed at the right height and the bass stays in tune! It’s truly a game-changer! Thank you Babicz!”
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Photos courtesy of Babicz Full Contact Hardware