Jimmy Blanton
Jimmy Blanton

Jimmy Blanton was born in Chattanooga,TN October 5, 1918, and in a tragically short life, revolutionized double base playing in jazz, giving the instrument its voice in the music. The base is variously called the string or stand up base. Blanton played both traditional arco (bowing) and pizzicato, plucking at the strings in complex solos for the first time for the instrument.

He came to national prominence playing with Duke Ellington, sometimes in duet. Sadly, after two years with Duke, he was diagnosed with Tuberculosis which was largely incurable at the time. He passed away in California July 30, 1942, at the age of 23, leaving a legacy of inventive and creative work but more, he gave the base a solo place in jazz.

Jimmy Blanton and Duke Ellington, Sophisticated Lady