In this follow up to the critically-acclaimed The Outlaw (Savant 2006) recording, Joe Chambers tips his hat to colleagues Horace Silver and Max Roach with Horace To Max, paying tribute to mentor Roach and recognizing Silver as one of the most important composers of the post-bop era of jazz. A highly-regarded session drummer of the '60s appearing on many of Blue Note's greatest jazz recordings, Chambers builds on the foundation of The Outlawwhere he was featured prominently on mallet instruments as well as the drumsperforming here on the vibes and marimba. While featuring standards from Kenny Dorham, Wayne Shorter, Marcus Miller and Thelonious Monk the repertoire includes three charts from Roach and one from Silver covering the the theme of the album.
Though technically not truly a "drummers" discby being overly percussive in natureChambers delivers his fair share of drum solos and includes Steve Berrios on percussion as part of the personnel. It is Berrios who introduces the opening "Asiatic Raes" on the congas accompanied by the drummer in what is in fact a dicey percussion-driven number. Exhibiting considerable chops on the vibes, Chambers crafts a warm and sensitive rendition of Silver's gorgeous "Ecaroh" featuring tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander and Xavier Davis on piano.
Vocalist Nicole Guiland appears on a couple of pieces beginning with "Mendacity," a tune associated with both Roach and Abbey Lincoln and then again on "Lonesome Lover" featuring a sparkling overdubbed performance on the vibes. Saxophonist Alexander is especially expressive on "Man From South Africa" and demonstrates why he is considered one of the finest reed man in the business with his take of Wayne Shorter's "Water Babies."
Pianist Davis sets up Chamber's strong stick work on Monk's classic "Evidence" in a brisk but brief treatment of the standard and ends the album in percussive manner using Berrios on the drums and congas. The finale "Afreeka" enjoys another marked performance on the vibes with more overdubbed work on the marimba as a lasting reminder of this artist's versatility as a musician. An unquestioned talent who should not be defined by his mastery of the drums alone, Chambers cements his legacy as one of the most influential musicians of our time with a remarkable multi-instrumental performance on Horace To Max. Using a mainstream approach to an all around contemporary jazz sound, Joe Chambers manages to speak with different voices all saying the same thing: this is superb jazzthe kind of music no doubt, Horace Silver and Max Roach would definitely be part of.
Track Listing: Asiatic Raes; Ecaroh; Man from South Africa; Mendacity; Portia; Water Babies; Lonesome Lover; Evidence; Afreeka.
Personnel: Joe Chambers: drums (1, 3, 4, 6-8), vibraphone (2-7, 9); marimba (5, 6, 9); Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone (1-6, 8, 9); Xavier Davis: piano (1-6, 8); Dwayne Burno: bass (1-6, 8, 9); Steve Berrios: conga drums (1, 9), drums (2, 5), percussion (3, 6, 8); Nicole Guiland: vocal (4, 7); Helen Sung: piano (7); Richie Goode: bass (7).
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.