Drummer Joe Chambers, 56, recorded his first Blue Note sessions as a youthful twenty year old, deeply immersed in the New York City jazz scene. While the 1960s were healthy years for the drummer’s professional development, the decade included many distractions for the jazz world. Fusion with rock music and the electronic revolution in equipment introduced many changes and several rifts. The music survived to witness its ‘90s comeback and usher in a generation of young lions. Leaders with whom Chambers worked and recorded in his early years include Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, and Chick Corea. They’ve survived the changes as well, and each of them has remained true to his original ideas. Fred Jung’s interview with Joe Chambers contains a revealing look at the drummer’s spirit and professional goals; see the commentary at http://www.allaboutjazz.com/pocket.htm .
Seven of the nine pieces are the leader’s compositions. The two exceptions are pop favorites "Lady in My Life" and "Come Back to Me." "Mirrors" takes modern mainstream to its core with ride cymbal, walking bass, and solos from tenor saxophone, trumpet, piano & bass. "Caravanserai" issues a Middle Eastern mood, while "Mariposa" clears the air with a fast-moving arrangement led by Vincent Herring’s soprano sax. The quintet moves lightly but quickly, and in all directions at once - like a butterfly. As the ending nears, Chambers steps up to solo and the piece appears to have attracted a whole swarm of tiny butterflies. For "Circles" and "Lady in My Life" the leader adds vibraphone to the mix. His lyrical two-mallet approach is a little too percussive for the ballad. It’s more appropriate on "Circles," however, as Chambers gives the ensemble a rest and multi-tracks two vibraphones and drum set to provide a syncopated percussion adventure that’s similar to the work he’s done with Max Roach and M’Boom. There’s no hidden connection between "Ruth" and "Ruthless." One is a soft modal ballad featuring Herring’s alto and tempered by brushes and a bass interlude. The other is at the core of straight-ahead jazz, driven hard and culminating in fours with the drummer. Highly Recommended.
Track Listing: Tu-Way-Pock-E-Way; Mirrors; Caravanserai; Ruth; Mariposa; Lady in My Life; Circles; Come Back to Me; Ruthless.
Personnel: Joe Chambers- drums, vibraphone; Mulgrew Miller- piano; Ira Coleman- bass; Vincent Herring- tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Eddie Henderson- trumpet.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.