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Joe Chambers|Samba de Maracatu

Samba de Maracatu

Joe Chambers

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From 1964 until 1971, multi-instrumentalist and composer Joe Chambers was a house drummer at Blue Note. He was featured on seminal recordings by trumpeters Freddie Hubbard and Donald Byrd, saxophonists Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, and Sam Rivers, and pianists McCoy Tyner and Andrew Hill. He also contributed drums and tunes to ten fine outings by vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, including Components, Happenings, and Oblique. The label offered him a leader date, but Chambers was so busy he declined. He later expanded his musical reach to the vibraphone, marimba, piano, and Afro-Latin percussion instruments. He contributed to top-shelf outings by many jazzmen including Charles Mingus, Charles Tolliver, Stanley Cowell, and as a member of Max Roach's M'Boom. In 1998, Blue Note offered him a leader date again and this time Chambers accepted. He released the acclaimed quintet outing Mirrors. In the 2010s, Chambers led sessions for Savant, including 2016's brilliant Landscapes, a piano/bass/drums trio, and maximally yet tastefully adds voluminous overdubs of vibraphone, marimba, and assorted Afro-Latin percussion instruments.
The title of 2021's Samba de Maracatu implies a Brazilian jazz album, but isn't one; instead, it reflects the famous samba rhythm birthed in the northern state of Pernambuco, amid the West African diaspora. Alongside bassist Steve Haines and pianist/synthesist Brad Merritt, Chambers puts on a dazzling display of covers, standards, and originals. It opens with a swinging read of the standard "You, The Night and the Music." Chambers' kit propels Merritt's slippery piano while Haines walks the bass before delivering a bright, punchy solo. Chambers' "Circles'' originally appeared on M'Boom's 1984 Soul Note outing Collage. Chambers plays drums, vibes, and Brazilian percussion instruments in an airier presentation that draws heavily on samba. His vibes meet Merritt's keys in colorful harmonic interplay. A version of the title track appeared on Landscapes. Chambers employs its carnival rhythm under an expanded tonal palette on the vibes, buoyed by Merritt's crystalline ostinatos, and Haines' funky, syncopated bassline. Chambers pays tribute to former bosses and mentors with stellar readings of Hutcherson's "Visions" and Horace Silver's "Ecaroh." The set's biggest surprise is "NY State of Mind Rain." It's a mashup of the iconic Nas hit and his own "Mind Rain" from 1978's masterful Double Exposure duo outing with organist Larry Young. (Nas sampled Chambers' drums from the cut on his original). The trio adds new harmonic elements and a hard bop rhythm to hip-hop beats and savvy, jazzy rapping from MC Parrain. The set closes with Wayne Shorter's "Rio," the trio's most intuitive and intimate interaction, as they evolve the rhythm from a languid 4/4 to shimmering, danceable, lyrical bossa. The intricate dialogue between Haines and Chambers is so intimate it claims the listener's attention. Samba de Maracatu is simply the state of rhythm master Chambers' mind at this moment. He mines the music of the past without nostalgia, and uses it to inform his own evolutionary artistic present with elegance, insight, and masterful musicality.

© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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Samba de Maracatu

Joe Chambers

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1
You and the Night and the Music
00:05:25

Howard Dietz, Author - Arthur Schwartz, Composer - Joe Chambers, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ivy Skoff, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel - Steve Haines, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Brad Merritt, Piano, Synthesizer Programming, AssociatedPerformer - J.K. Loftin, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Circles
00:04:24

Joe Chambers, Composer, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ivy Skoff, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel - Steve Haines, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Brad Merritt, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - J.K. Loftin, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
Samba de Maracatu
00:04:36

Joe Chambers, Composer, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ivy Skoff, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel - Steve Haines, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Brad Merritt, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - J.K. Loftin, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
Visions
00:05:44

Bobby Hutcherson, Composer - Joe Chambers, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ivy Skoff, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel - Steve Haines, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Brad Merritt, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - J.K. Loftin, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Never Let Me Go
00:04:47

Jay Livingston, ComposerLyricist - Ray Evans, ComposerLyricist - Joe Chambers, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ivy Skoff, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel - Steve Haines, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Brad Merritt, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Stephanie Jordan, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - J.K. Loftin, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
Sabah el Nur
00:06:03

Joe Chambers, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ivy Skoff, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel - Karl Ratzer, Composer - Steve Haines, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Brad Merritt, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - J.K. Loftin, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Ecaroh
00:05:48

Horace Silver, ComposerLyricist - Joe Chambers, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ivy Skoff, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel - Steve Haines, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Brad Merritt, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - J.K. Loftin, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
New York State of Mind Rain
00:03:45

Joe Chambers, Composer, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ivy Skoff, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel - Steve Haines, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Brad Merritt, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - J.K. Loftin, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - MC Parrain, Rap Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Fenton Chambers, Author

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
Rio
00:04:21

Wayne Shorter, Composer - Joe Chambers, Producer, Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ivy Skoff, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel - Steve Haines, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Brad Merritt, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - J.K. Loftin, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album review

From 1964 until 1971, multi-instrumentalist and composer Joe Chambers was a house drummer at Blue Note. He was featured on seminal recordings by trumpeters Freddie Hubbard and Donald Byrd, saxophonists Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, and Sam Rivers, and pianists McCoy Tyner and Andrew Hill. He also contributed drums and tunes to ten fine outings by vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, including Components, Happenings, and Oblique. The label offered him a leader date, but Chambers was so busy he declined. He later expanded his musical reach to the vibraphone, marimba, piano, and Afro-Latin percussion instruments. He contributed to top-shelf outings by many jazzmen including Charles Mingus, Charles Tolliver, Stanley Cowell, and as a member of Max Roach's M'Boom. In 1998, Blue Note offered him a leader date again and this time Chambers accepted. He released the acclaimed quintet outing Mirrors. In the 2010s, Chambers led sessions for Savant, including 2016's brilliant Landscapes, a piano/bass/drums trio, and maximally yet tastefully adds voluminous overdubs of vibraphone, marimba, and assorted Afro-Latin percussion instruments.
The title of 2021's Samba de Maracatu implies a Brazilian jazz album, but isn't one; instead, it reflects the famous samba rhythm birthed in the northern state of Pernambuco, amid the West African diaspora. Alongside bassist Steve Haines and pianist/synthesist Brad Merritt, Chambers puts on a dazzling display of covers, standards, and originals. It opens with a swinging read of the standard "You, The Night and the Music." Chambers' kit propels Merritt's slippery piano while Haines walks the bass before delivering a bright, punchy solo. Chambers' "Circles'' originally appeared on M'Boom's 1984 Soul Note outing Collage. Chambers plays drums, vibes, and Brazilian percussion instruments in an airier presentation that draws heavily on samba. His vibes meet Merritt's keys in colorful harmonic interplay. A version of the title track appeared on Landscapes. Chambers employs its carnival rhythm under an expanded tonal palette on the vibes, buoyed by Merritt's crystalline ostinatos, and Haines' funky, syncopated bassline. Chambers pays tribute to former bosses and mentors with stellar readings of Hutcherson's "Visions" and Horace Silver's "Ecaroh." The set's biggest surprise is "NY State of Mind Rain." It's a mashup of the iconic Nas hit and his own "Mind Rain" from 1978's masterful Double Exposure duo outing with organist Larry Young. (Nas sampled Chambers' drums from the cut on his original). The trio adds new harmonic elements and a hard bop rhythm to hip-hop beats and savvy, jazzy rapping from MC Parrain. The set closes with Wayne Shorter's "Rio," the trio's most intuitive and intimate interaction, as they evolve the rhythm from a languid 4/4 to shimmering, danceable, lyrical bossa. The intricate dialogue between Haines and Chambers is so intimate it claims the listener's attention. Samba de Maracatu is simply the state of rhythm master Chambers' mind at this moment. He mines the music of the past without nostalgia, and uses it to inform his own evolutionary artistic present with elegance, insight, and masterful musicality.

© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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