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Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament Salutes Late Bassist Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn

Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

One of the music’s greats, bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn, passed away over the weekend and the tributes have been pouring in ever since. Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament is one of the latest to offer his thoughts on the legend that was one of his bass idols.

In a posting at Pearl Jam’s website, Ament writes, “Five years ago, I made a list of my favorite and most influential bassists, and after much editing, decided to put their names on the back of my new favorite bass at the time and the first name on the neck is Duck Dunn. In 1993, the band was lucky enough to open a bunch of shows in the U.S. and Europe for Neil [Young] and his band of Booker T., Steve Cropper, Jim Keltner, and Duck. Our band watched every minute of this all-star band and lessons were delivered nightly. I learned more about how to ‘play songs’ in a band than in my previous 12 years of playing. Duck played deeper and with more economy than most and profoundly effected how I play with PJ.”

Ament thanked Dunn in his note for “the education,” echoing the sentiments of Flea, Nickelback and many more. Dunn was a session musician for the Stax Records label in the ’60s, playing on great soul recordings from Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, and Sam & Dave, while also starting his run as a long-time member of Booker T. & the M.G.’s. He would later find success playing bass on rock records from Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Neil Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Tom Petty among others, but may be known to many of today’s generation for his role in The Blues Brothers band and films. He passed away Sunday (May 13) at the age of 70.

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