Don Was to lead celebration of Motown milestone
Don Was has performed with or produced many musical legends, including Bob Dylan, Mavis Staples, the Rolling Stones and Ringo Starr. But the Detroit-raised sonic craftsman feels like an apprentice again when it comes to diving into the musicianship of the “Motown Sound.”
The bassist, Grammywinning producer and president of the Blue Note jazz label is particularly enthralled with the bassplaying of late Motown “Funk Brother” James Jamerson as Was prepares for his next big gig: the 12th Don Was Detroit All-Star Revue. The concert on July 13 at the Detroit Institute of Arts aims to celebrate the record company founded in Detroit 60 years ago and includes classic Motown artists Martha Reeves, Carolyn Crawford and the Velvelettes.
“As time goes by, I appreciate those records more and more, and as I get deeper into the nuances of playing bass, James Jamerson blows me away more than ever now,” Was said by phone from his Southern California office. “I started writing out the charts for what we’re doing, and he’s an absolute genius. There was no one who ever played that way before.”