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Upright Bass: The Musical Life and Legacy of Jamil Nasser

Foreword by Ron Carter

George Joyner, Jamil Sulieman, and Jamil Nasser are three names that appear on the records of Phineas Newborn, Lou Donaldson, Ahmad Jamal, and Red Garland. These names identify one jazz bassist, composer, and jazz advocate, who made an indelible mark in the jazz world for over fifty years.

 

Upright Bass chronicles his evolution from a young bassist on Beale Street to a top flight bassist on the New York Jazz scene.  Miles Davis harbored curiosity about the environment that produced Jamil and three Memphis musicians he hired in 1963. "I wondered what they were doing down there when all the guys came through that same school."

Nasser's narrative captures the untold stories of two piano giants Phineas Newborn and Oscar Dennard. He also shares anecdotes about his mentors: Papa Jo Jones, Lester Young, Charles Mingus, Oscar Pettiford, and Ray Brown. Moreover, Jamil describes his decade long tenure with Ahmad Jamal, which included a life-threatening imprisonment in South America. Finally, we learn about the perils of heroin addiction, his plight as an outspoken jazz artist fighting for greater union representation, media access, healthcare, and self-ownership.

"A fascinating portrait of a straight-ahead bass player." 

 The Jazz Journal -UK

"This is a celebratory and worthy tribute to a jazz great." 

Publishers Weekly

"Muneer Nasser’s rhythmic prose swings joyfully through the life and times of one of jazz’s greatest and most innovative bassists."                

The Journal of Roots Music

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