Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Horace to Max

Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Horace to Max

Article excerpt

Joe Chambers

Horace to Max

Savant SCD 2107

Joe Chambers (d,vib,mar) Eric Alexander (ts) Xavier Davis (p) Dwayne Burno (b) Steve Berrios (per, d) Nicole Guiland (1) (vcl). Helen Sung (p) and Rickie Goode (b) only on Lonesome Lover. Rec. New York City on August 13 & 14, 2009

Asiatic Raes / Ecaroh / Man from South Africa / Mendacity(1) / Portia / Water Babies / Lonesome Lover(1) / Evidence / Afreeka. TT 49:52

This is the tenth album by renowned drummer, vibraphonist, composer Joe Chambers (b. 1942) as leader, although he's appeared as a sideman with such luminaries as Donald Byrd, Art Farmer, Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, Lou Donaldson, Chick Corea, Freddie Hubbard, Jimmy Giuffre, and Bobby Hutcherson.

He first surfaced in Washington DC in 1962, playing in local clubs, but came to New York in 1963 where he played his first notable job with Eric Dolphy and began participating in the historic Blue Note recordings (see Note below). Highly influenced by Max Roach - "that's my model. Max was my mentor," his career blossomed in New York, not only performing and recording, but also writing such songs as Mirrors, recorded by Freddie Hubbard.

Always improving his instrumental skills, he began playing the vibraphone in 1970, facilitated by his previous experience with the marimba. You'll find that he uses a mix of drums, vibraphone, and marimba on most of his recordings. When he appears in clubs, the group is often billed as Joe Chambers and his Outlaw Band.

Not only a working musician, Chambers also is involved in education, teaching at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. In 2008, he joined the Music Department at the University of North Carolina Wilmington as a Professor of Jazz.

The opening track, an up tempo Asiatic Raes, grabs you right away, with impressive solos by Alexander, tenor, and Davis, piano, and some tailored drumming by Chambers at the end. (Throughout, Chambers takes sly and webby short drum solos that tell little stories.) Ecaroh is moody and pensive; the liner notes say Joe's impressive vibraphone solo is over-dubbed but it certainly sounds like Davis is reacting to Chambers in real time. Alexander has another great solo on this cut.

And Alexander again takes the lead on Man From South Africa, soloing with force, dancing over the poly rhythmic coda laid down by Chambers and Berrios. …

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