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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Jack Myers RIP

From Bob Corritore
  • RIP Jack Myers - Birthdate unknown to March 9, 2011. Charlie Musselwhite writes to inform us about the loss of his friend, the great blues bassist Jack Myers:"I thought you'd like to know that the great Chess bass player, Jack Myers died in Milwaukee March 9th. Jack was 74. He was a good friend. We recorded and toured together and he lived with me for a while. Seems like other than playing, we were laughing all day about one thing and another. He was a real good  guy. Him and (Fred) Below made a great team. Wearing their berets and shades. That was about as good as it gets." Very little biographical info can be found on Jack Myers, but during the 1960s, he was a key player in bringing the relatively new electric bass into the forefront of Chicago Blues. The style was changing, and gutarists like Buddy Guy, who Jack worked with most frequently, were more interested in playing a single string lead guitar sound then the more rhythm oriented guitar work popularized in the 1950s. This led to a sparce, open sound in which the bass was holding down a different role in connecting the music. Jack Myers would play a patterned bass line and then hit occational runs to fill in the gaps in a way not heard from bass before. Here is what Buddy Guy recalls in an interview with Guitar World “When the Fender bass first came along, I remember seeing this kid Jack Myers play it with Earl Hooker’s band. Hooker actually owned the bass, so the only time that boy could play, he had to work with Earl Hooker. But I found out that Willie Dixon had a Fender bass that he’d pawned at a place on 47th and State. So I told that boy, ‘If you wanna play with me, I’ll go get that Fender out of pawn from Dixon.’ And I gave it to Jack, ’cause he was a good little bass player.” Jack played bass on the majority of Buddy Guy records on Chess as well on Guy's classic record, A Man And The Blues on Vanguard. He also played bass on the Junior Wells historic album Hoodoo Man Blues on Delmark Records as well as Junior's selections on the Chicago, The Blues Today series on Vanguard. He played bass on Big Walter Horton / The Soul Of Blues Harmonica, Charlie Musselwhite / Tennessee Woman, and the Chicago Blues Stars album (with Louis Myers, Charlie Musselwhite, Freddie Roulette, Fred Below, and Skip Rose).. He also participated in the 1966 American Folk Blues Festival (a European tour and live album) with Otis Rush, Junior Wells, Fred Below, Roosevelt Sykes, Big Joe Turner, Sippie Wallace and others. At a point in the 1970s Jack seemed to drop out of sight, but his decade of session work on many highly influential blues recordings will cement him forever into blues history. To see various great clips of Jack in Europe in 1966 with Otis Rush, Junior Wells, and Big Joe Turner, click here, here, here, and here.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for these fine and true words about Jack Myers. His bass melodys are so great that they would do fine as stand alone. When you have listened to a tune where he plays, what you remember is the bass. /Kenneth Pettersson, Sweden

Unknown said...

I am surprised to hear you think Jack Meyers was not well known. I started playing bass in the late seventies in various Blues bands in Toronto, Canada. One of the first drummers I played with, Dave Taylor, got me to listen to Buddy Guy albums with Vanguard. At the time Buddy's band was considered the leading Blues band and many of the local bass players spent a lot of time practising Jack Meyer's bass lines. I believe Jack Meyers was one of the most influential bass players for baby boomer Blues bass players.

Blues Historian said...

HI Peter, actually those were the comments of Bob Corritore. although I don't think Bob was saying he wasn't well known, perhaps he wasn't given the due he deserved. To be honest the majority of blues fans know the singer of the band, or the star, but they hardly know the sidemen like you and me:-) Jazz fans on the other hand seem to know who played what instrument, on what track, and which recording session. We should probably be more like them! thanks for commenting! said...

Jack now has a headstone thanks to the killer blues headstone project.

Unknown said...

That is a good thing. I'm certain his family appreciates this kind gesture.

Anonymous said...

Yes the Myers family is so glad this happen for our uncle jack myers