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Jimmy Woode


Jimmy Woode

Bassist Jimmy Woode was one of the great team players in jazz history. He participated in many recordings and performances with a long list of luminaries including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Clark Terry, Clarke-Boland Big Band and numerous other European artists.

My introduction to the bass playing of Jimmy was via the classic recording Ellington at Newport, famous for the Paul Gonsalves extended tenor solo. The strength of that Ellington rhythm section with Jimmy and Sam Woodyard propels Gonsalves all the way through with relentless swing. Everyone talks about that fantastic solo of Paul’s (which it most certainly is!), but without the humble support and driving bass lines of Jimmy Woode, would it have been the same? It is a great lesson in humility.

I was fortunate to be in the company of Jimmy Woode on several occasions while I was touring Europe with different groups. Jimmy was always going out to hear music, whether it was a night off or after his own gig. He loved to be a part of the jazz scene and supported it every way he could. I can still picture him listening with rapt attention in the room. He loved to hang out and talk on the breaks, offering his support and sharing stories from his illustrious career. What a career it was. Thank you, Jimmy, for leaving such a legacy.

Originally Published