Saturday, June 25, 2022

Chapter & Versatility: Joe Chambers 80

I'm gonna Jazz up your weekend something fierce to close out June with a double shot of birthday love right now, courtesy of two milestone birthdays for two super stalwart players who have, thankfully, made it into their 80s.

First up is #80 on the dot for one of those cats that just seems to have too much talent, and should have to give some up so those of us without any can see what it's like.

He first appeared in the mid-1960s, drumming for Freddie Hubbard and then in Wayne Shorter's bands.

He's behind the kit for all those classic Wayne LPs like The All Seeing Eye and Et Cetera.

During the second half of the Sixties he recorded a ton with Archie Shepp and Bobby Hutcherson, almost functioning as kind of an unofficial house drummer for the Blue Note label especially.

As the '60s turned into the '70s, he joined Max Roach's all-percussion ensemble M'Boom, branching out onto vibraphone, marimba, steel drums and whatever else you might have on hand.

In 1977 he even made a duo album with organ immolator Larry Young, on which he played mostly.... piano.

During his tenure in M'Boom, he almost became the star of the band, especially when he played the vibes.

In addition to the seven thousand billion seminal records he's guested on, he's also led all sorts of sessions.

He's got a record out right now, in fact, featuring Afro-Brazilian sounds and called Samba de Maracatu.

We'll venture back to the start of the 1980s, and his time in M'Boom, to honor the percussionary force of nature we know as Joe Chambers.

The World Saxophone Quartet
Max Roach & M'Boom
Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Harlem, New York City USA

01 I Heard That
02 Funny Paper
03 Touchic
04 Fast Life
05 Onomatopoeia
06 Twinkle Toes
07 Epistrophy
08 Kujichaglia
09 Morning Midday
10 P.O. In Cairo
11 Baby I'm Back
12 Bordertown
13 Jihad
14 untitled percussion improvisation
15 Stick
16 interview with Max Roach

Total time: 1:45:29
disc break goes after Track 09

The World Saxophone Quartet: 
Hamiett Bluiett, Julius Hemphill, David Murray & Oliver Lake - reeds and flutes
Max Roach, Roy Brooks, Joe Chambers, Freddie Waits & Ray Mantilla - drums, steel drums, vibraphone, marimba & percussion

Tracks 01-04: WSQ & Max Roach
Tracks 05-09: M'Boom
Tracks 10-13: WSQ & M'Boom
Track 14: M'Boom
Track 15: WSQ
master off-air cassettes of an original "Jazz Alive!" NPR broadcast over WSKG-FM in Binghamton, NY
slightly retracked by EN, June 2022
541 MB FLAC/June 2022 archive link

This set is utterly exquisite -- as great as anything I've ever shared here, no joke -- and was captured so cleanly it makes me wish every FM tape was like this one.

The birthday guy absolutely takes over the middle section, where M'Boom play by themselves.

I'll be back in less than 24 with another Hall Of Famer, born exactly five years, minus one day, previous to Joe Chambers.

That's the criminally underappreciated Joe Chambers, born this day in 1942 and still vibing.--J.