Don Was to lead cel­e­bra­tion of Mo­town mile­stone

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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.”

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