Born and raised near Philadelphia to a musical family, Joe
Chambers heard not only the rock and roll of Louis Jordan
and Slim Gaillard, but the classical of Vivaldi, Wagner,
Beethoven and Mahler. Drums came early. "I think an
instrument picks you. I used to play on post and pans when I
was little. I was setting them up like a kit at four years of
age, so the instincts were there."
More taken with Lester Young and Lionel Hampton than
Little Richard, Chambers nonetheless soon joined a band
playing all the R&B hits of the day. "We played 'house rock,'
horn players walking the bar like Big Jay McNeely and Tiny