Ranked #22 on the Digital Dream Door list of greatest fusion bassists, Jimmy Earl boasts an impressive resume including Grammy nominations, performing with the best of the best in jazz , and as a regular on a national TV show. We don’t like to drop names, but come on, Jimmy’s played with some pretty heavy hitters — everyone from Gato Barbieri, Pat Metheny, and Stanley Clarke to legends like Freddie Hubbard, Phyllis Hyman, Ramsey Lewis, and Stanley Turrentine. And that list only scratches the surface! It’s no wonder Jimmy Earl has earned his rightful place in the annals of jazz history.
Raised in Annapolis, MD, Jimmy Earl heeded the call and in 1986, with bass in hand, headed to New York. At the urging of a friend he joined the Jazz Explosion and soon after met his friend and mentor, Stanley Clarke who’d invite him to join him on the Three Bassists tour of Brazil (with Larry Graham). Soon after, Jimmy joined Joe Sample’s Crusaders where he spent a year touring internationally.
In 1988, Jimmy moved to Los Angeles, CA where he recorded on Clarke’s album If This Bass Could Only Talk followed by East River Drive (1993) on which Earl co-wrote “I’m Home Africa”. He got the call to replace John Patitucci in Chick Corea’s Elektric Band where he eventually met and recorded with Italian superstar Pino Daniele. Che Dio ti Benedica is the first of five albums Jimmy would record with Daniele between 1993 and 1999.
1993 also saw the release of Elektric Band II’s Paint the World, which features the Earl/Corea-penned “Ished”, “Spanish Sketch”, and “Reprise”. The album went on to grab a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album (1994).
Jimmy started touring/recording with Robben Ford in 1996, appearing on Supernatural (1999), the DVD New Morning: The Paris Concert (2001), and Ford’s first album with the Concord Jazz label, Blue Moon where Earl is credited with producing “Good to Love”. Two more Ford albums followed: Keep on Running (2003), and Truth (2007) which hit number one on Billboard’s blues chart and was nominated for the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
In 2002 Earl got the call to play with Cleto and the Cletones just as they’d been been tapped as the house band on the ABC late-night television program Jimmy Kimmel Live! He’s been appearing nightly on the show ever since.
When not performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, if you’re lucky you can catch Jimmy sitting in at L.A.’s Baked Potato where, from time to time, he appears with “king of the funky drums”, Zigaboo Modeliste and salsa queen Cecilia Nol and the Wild Clams.
In addition to his impressive catalog as supporting musician, Jimmy has three solo releases of his own: his self-titled Jimmy Earl (1995) followed by 1997’s Stratosphere. We’re proud that both titles have been re-released on the Severn imprint. Renewing Disguises (Severn CD-0062) is his most recent offering through Severn Records. He’s is also a featured guest on the Severn title, Bullet Proof by Bruce Conte.
Renewing Disguises (Severn CD-0062)
Stratosphere (Pacific Time Entertainment; reissue Severn CD-0054)
Jimmy Earl (EFA; reissue Severn CD-0053)
Stanley Clarke – If This Bass Could Only Talk (Portrait)
Stanley Clarke – East River Drive (Epic)
Stanley Clarke – 1, 2, to the Bass (Sony)
Chick Corea – Paint the World (GRP)
Chick Corea – The Songs of West Side Story (RCA Victor)
Chick Corea – The Very Best of Chick Corea (Universal)
Pino Daniele – Che Dio ti Benedica (Musicrama)
Pino Daniele – Non Calpestare i Fiori nel Deserto (GCD)
Pino Daniele – Dimmi Cosa Succede Sulla Terra (Musicrama)
Pino Daniele – Yes I Know My Way (GCD)
Pino Daniele – Come un Gelato All’equatore (GCD)
Robben Ford – Supernatural (Blue Thumb)
Robben Ford – New Morning: The Paris Concert, DVD (In-Akustik)
Robben Ford – Blue Moon (Concord Jazz)
Robben Ford – Keep on Running (Concord Jazz)
Robben Ford – Truth (Concord)