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Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

The Legendary MasterTuner, Innovator & Designer - James "Bassman" Jackman

James Jackman known in Pan World as "BASEMAN" has passed away Wednesday February 15, 2017 in Trinidad and Tobago.

A very brief spot light on "Bassman", born on January 1, 1938 and spent his early years, with parents and siblines in Mitatower, Santa Cruz and Quarry RD. San Juan. Recently, when asked what drew him to pan and how did he got started in pan. He said, he sang in church choir with his sister. He loved music and wanted to learn music at an early age but his sister got the privaledge to attend panio lessons and I was guided into shoemaker but being a big brother, I was given the responsibility accompany her to and from panio lessons. While waiting I had no choice but to hear what she was being taught and had to practise. When I saw the music book, I understood notes and sound relationships. I made the connections. PANS...he was not allowed to play"that's devil instrument". At about age fifteen he built up enough courage the go and see a panyard upclose. The arranger was teaching a young man to play the bass part...the young man kept making mistakessss, over and over and finally the arrange gave up. "I knew I could play that", he said to himself. The courage came and he climded behind the bass pans and played the song first time from the begin to the end but made one mistake. The arranger came over grab his hands with the bass sticks in them and proceed to show him his one mistake rather rough..."so I put down the sticks and left". 

So, the next day, when hardly anyone was around, "I played the song, then added to it and I played other songs and the things which I had learned from sister's panio lessons started flowing, soon there was a gathering and hence they call me "BASSMAN" ".

We will update this message soon on arrangements. Thanks.

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Condolences to his family and friends.

When Steel Talks extends condolences to the family and friends of tuner extraordinaire James "Bassman" Jackman. 

Another one gone, I'm getting nervous here not scared because I have had a long satisfactory life, its more like when its getting near your turn for an interview.Baseman's story reminded me of the time when Arthur Deceauto was arranging for a branch of Casablanca called "all Aces" from Bossierre and the double guitar man was having problems, there observing was Desmond Harrigin who stepped up and in one shot played the piece flawlessly. That's what I mean when I say Trinidadians are the most talented people I know.. Desmond went on to play for Silver Stars, he too passed away recently.. I feel so alone now...The great Myron B's father John Samuel aka Dowlin was a witness to that as he was the best cello pan player in those days,and a member of "All Aces" Now you can see where Myron got his talent because his father played the guitar as well and was on the Sunday Serenade show back in the sixties..Dowlin also played in a little combo backing George Clark and Ellis "mouse" Diaz,  they both had great voices...

''A Lot of Folks Dont Know that James  ''Bassman'' Jackman was the Person Who Really Gave DESPERADOES that Unique Sound that is So Very Present Unto This Day.  Thanks Bassman for Your Sterling Contribution to The Steelband Art Form.  Well Done Master Tuner. You Left a Great Legacy.  May The Lord Have Mercy On Your Soul.   R.I.P.  Brother!

James was a very generous person and was very instrumental in helping people interested in learning to play and tune pans. During my research for my book on the US Navy Steel Band, several key former US Navy Steel Band members told me it was Bassman who built steelpans for the US Navy Steel Band after Ellie Mannette left for the USA. In fact, from 1966-1976, Bassman outfitted the US Navy Steel Band with pans and tuned them. You can hear his distinctive pan sound on several of the studio recordings the US Navy Steel Band did during this time. Anyone who wants more information on this please contact me!  Andrew Martin amartin@inverhills.edu

The pans used on Despers ground breaking 1966 double album (considered one of the best steel band recordings of all time) were tuned by Mr Jackman and Mr Riley (Bassman & Cobojack). Robbie was a young tenor player on that album which still brings me joy every time I play it. Thank you Mr Jackman, your work and dedication will never be forgotten

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