Combining hip-hop gestures with straight-ahead trends, Joe Chambers pushes the modern mainstream envelope toward broader acceptance. Logan Richardson's alto saxophone and Chambers' vibraphone share most of the lyrical duties on The Outlaw
, where Chambers establishes a comfortable groove and never lets go. At times mesmerizing and at times refreshingly pure, the session relies on a powerful, driving rhythmic influence.
Nicole Richardson adds a lovely vocal to "I Think it's Time to Say Goodbye, which is supported by a lightweight rhythm section and synth strings. Chambers demonstrates once again that he's always been a tasteful drummer who takes advantage of every textural alteration possible.
Chambers' vibraphone melodies flow like water through a garden's sunny haven. He offers a beautiful harmonic color throughout the session and shades with lovely melodies. While everything falls into place naturally, it comes as quite a surprise that the ensemble's saxophone would register with such a decidedly different tone and texture. Unlike Chambers' velvety smooth vibraphone timbre, the alto and soprano provide a grainy texture that runs opposite to the leader's direction. This becomes a distraction on "Come Back to Me, where the soprano resembles a snake charmer's tool, and on "The Outlaw, where the alto dances awkwardly around the vibraphone's smooth Latin cascades.
As the album closes with a lovely "Poinciana, you get a pretty good idea of the versatility that Chambers employs on his recordings. He plays vibes and piano here, plus several other instruments elsewhere. Thus, he's able to provide us with a sensible balance of lush harmony, graceful melody, and gentle, underlying rhythms.
Track Listing: The Outlaw; Tu-Way-Pock-E-Way; Come Back to Me; I Think It
Personnel: Joe Chambers: drums, vibraphone, piano, marimba, synth; Logan Richardson: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone; Misha Tsiganov: piano; Dwayne Burno: bass; Bobby Sanabria: percussion; Nicole Guiland: vocals.
Year Released: 2006
| Record Label: Savant Records
| Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream