Saturday 31 August 2013

I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Diana Ross & The Supremes & The Temptations (1968)

Hello everyone,

During my study of Jamerson's work, I have started to notice two distinct approaches that he takes to a song. The first, and most well known, is his incredible ability to improvise over the chord changes. Songs such as 'For Once In My Life' and 'Darling Dear' and good examples of this, rarely having two bars the same throughout the entire line. Dazzling semiqaver runs that skip across the octaves occur frequently, as do the classic chromatic movements that drag the song from one chord to another.

Another side to his playing is his ability to come up with a relatively simple line and slowly develop and expand it throughout the course of the track. Today's analysis definitely falls into this category. What I have tried to do here is highlight and compare the gradual variations that Jamerson makes to the line as the song progresses, whilst still sticking to his pre-established harmonic and rhythmic movements.

Verse 1

This first verse sees Jamerson establish a rhythmical figure that he uses throughout the track. Right up until the end of this verse, he always holds the first note for at least one beat, anchoring the chord and usually consisting of some tied quavers. Using a very arpeggio focused figure, he climbs up to the D in bar two via a simple chromatic walk. This concept is expanded in bar three, where the chromatic movement occupies half of the bar.

Bar four sees an interesting fill consisting of a root, ninth and seventh. He remains in this higher register for the start of the next bar, before moving back down to a C / C# walk at the end via a classic Jamerson arpeggiated drop.

Bar seven, with its quick use of an open A string builds rhythmically towards the bar eight E7 run. Using the root, second, third, fourth and fifth, he outlines the chord and approaches the Am7 via it's fifth, an E. This dominant approach anticipates the chord change perfectly and creates a very strong sense of resolution. The rhythm of bar eight is very much in keeping with the pre-established feel of the track, focusing on the quaver / semiquaver combination, whilst still building and propelling the song forward.

A simple combination of root notes and chromatic runs is all that is needed to navigate through the next two bars. In bar eleven, Jamerson begins to build up into the chorus, introducing more rhythmic and harmonic variation (note the classic Jamerson movement in beat four), before pedalling between a D and B over the C/D chord. A quick A in the final quaver acts as a chromatic approach to the Bb in the chorus.

Chorus 1

By and large, Jamerson sticks to the root and fifth notes throughout this chorus, often linking chords together with chromatic semiquaver runs lasting for one beat. He chooses to highlight the descending movement of the chords, first the Bb, A, G and F, then the C, Bb, A and F. Like the verse, he often sticks to the root note of the chord for at least one beat, further cementing the already established rhythmical theme.

What is interesting about this line is how he develops and varies the verse and chorus parts, adding in different fills and making new rhythmical decisions. By looking at Verse 2, you can see these small changes being made.

Verse 2

Notice how the line is essentially the same as in the first verse, aside from some small differences. Most notably, he chooses to develop the semiquaver run in the last beat of bar two and six, emphasising the drop down to a low G in the next bar. Also, whilst still playing an octave based figure in bar four, this time he doesn't play the ninth.

This gradual expansion and development is also evident in Chorus 2.

Chorus 2

Again, this is pretty much the same as the previous chorus, but with the same slight variations. Some of the note choices in the chromatic runs are different, as well as slight rhythmical variations - particularly in the first bar.

Bridge Run

After outlining the Gmaj7 with a root, fifth and octave figure, a quick chromatic fill brings us to the next bar. Here, Jamerson drops down the E7 via the root, seventh, fifth, fourth, third, second and root in a fast semiquaver run, before climbing back up to a G# that anticipates the A in the next bar. The heavy use of the open E in the last half of the bar allows him to use the G and G# chromatic figure whilst still enforcing the tonality of the chord. This scale based fill is really the only one of its kind in this piece, and after this Jamerson drops back into playing his already established figures.

Chorus 3

Looking at this, you can again see how he chooses to stick mainly to root notes, intermixed with brief fifths and semiquaver fills that tie the chords together. Even in this last chorus, he doesn't stray away from his already established line. This is interesting for Jamerson, as even on tracks where his playing is relatively simple, the last chorus tends to be where he lets himself go a little. On this track, this is not the case and we see him playing a simple line right up until the end of the song.

For me, this is a great example of a relatively straightforward bass line that just does the job perfectly. Anchoring the song with a set line that he sticks to for the whole piece, he gently varies his playing throughout the verse and chorus sections.


  1. Bravo! That was spot-on, and just plain superb...

  2. This is a great blog...please keep it up...

  3. Thanks for sharing!
    and greetings from Germany

  4. Had no idea how much work the bass was doing in all of these motown hits. Amazing!