Legendary bassist Jerry Jemmott plays the Maple Leaf Bar tonight, 11/1 and Café Istanbul, 11/2

Johnny Vidacovich’s trio shows at the Maple Leaf Bar have become one of the best shows around town for fans of improvisation in virtually any genre. Usually the other members of the trio are local luminaries on the music scene, but every now and then a legend pops on by. Tonight is no exception when Jerry Jemmott, one of the most recorded and acclaimed session musicians from the 1960s and 1970s, comes to New Orleans. He will also join Vidacovich on Friday night at Café Istanbul.

Thursday night’s gig will also feature keyboardist Joe Ashlar. On Friday night expect to see one of the founding members of the trio, guitarist June Yamagishi. Vidacovich said about the gigs, “I’ve always been a fan! Who hasn’t? I know that I’ll be smiling! I can’t wait.”

Jemmott, who is known as the “Groovemaster,” has a resume that crosses genres much like the work of Vidacovich. He began playing music as a youngster obsessed with jazz players like Paul Chambers and Charles Mingus. But his first claim to fame was with the great soul and R&B saxophonist King Curtis.

In 2014, he was recognized by the Grammy peeps with a long-overdue certificate acknowledging his bass work on King Curtis’ award-winning recording of “Games People Play.” That song won for “Best R&B Instrumental Performance” in 1969.

His work with Curtis led to a longstanding relationship with Atlantic Records. Jemmott recorded with dozens of artists on the label during its heyday including Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, and Roberta Flack. Besides those superstars of R&B and soul, he also recorded with blues greats B.B. King on “The Thrill is Gone,” Otis Rush, Champion Jack Dupree, and Mike Bloomfield.

In the jazz genre his stellar bass playing can be heard on albums by Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Erroll Garner, Les McCann, Eddie Harris, George Benson, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Mann, and Eddie Palmieri.

Needless to say, these shows are must-sees for fans of bass guitar as well as anyone interested in the deep history of one of the most prolific players in modern music.

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