June 20, 2024


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CD review: Joe Chambers – Samba de Maracatu 2021: Video, CD cover

The name of the jazz veteran Joe Chambers (born 1942) sounded especially loud in the 60s and 70s. During this period, Joe worked with Eric Dolphy, Charlie Mingus, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, and especially with Bobby Hutcherson. He was satisfied with the role of sideman and composer, and he even rejected the offer of the Blue Note chefs to record a solo album due to his busy schedule.

Drummer and vibraphone player Joe Chambers recorded his first album for the famous label only in 1998. Later, Joe was more involved in teaching, recording for other labels, and now Samba de Maracatu marks his return to Blue Note. Joe himself plays more vibraphone here than on ordinary drums, and he sings a lot and with taste. As sidemen, two musicians from North Carolina worked with him on this recording, where he recorded the album: bassist Steve Haynes and pianist and synthesizer Brad Merritt. Of the nine tracks on the album, two are vocal.

And if the participation of vocalist Stephanie Jordan in the composition Never Let Me Go looks quite natural, then the rapper MC Parrain in Chambers’s own composition New York State of Mind Rain is a rather unexpected choice. Despite the “Brazilian” title of the album, only Chambers’ title composition Samba de Maracatu (this is a rhythmic pattern typical for the Bahia region), and Shorter’s Rio with bossa nova rhythms represent here in full measure Latin jazz. The rest of the album’s program is a mixture of standards, Chambers’ own plays and his favorite plays by other authors, including the Visions of his old partner Bobby Hutcherson. Listening to the album is easy and the only surprise is that over the years Joe began to prefer mallets to drumsticks more and more. The master remains a master: even approaching the age of 80, Chambers did not lose in the least in energy or in creative imagination. I think the new alliance with Blue Note will satisfy both sides and, of course, listeners.

  1. You and the Night and the Music (5:26)
  2. Circles (4:24)
  3. Samba de Maracatu (4:36)
  4. Visions (5:44)
  5. Never Let Me Go (4:48)
  6. Sabah el Nur (6:04)
  7. Ecaroh (5:49)
  8. New York State of Mind Rain (3:45)
  9. Rio (4:21)

Joe Chambers: drums, vibraphone, conga drums, claves, guiro, cowbell, surdo, repinique, shakere, quica;
Brad Merritt: piano, synthesizer;
Steve Haines: bass;
Stephanie Jordan: vocalist (5);
MC Parrain: rap vocals (8)

On the Drums… – Medium

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