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Joe Chambers


The Leader of the Jazz Connection is multi-instrumentalist Joe Chambers. He has been described as one of the great drummers to come out of the sixties; a master of dynamics, percussive color, and polyrhythmnic density. Chambers is also a pianist and composer and can handle mallet instruments. He has performed with most of the modern jazz giants, e.g. Freddie Hubbard, Eric Dolphy, Donald Byrd, Charles Mingus, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, and the Max Roach M'Boom Ensemble. Chambers has recorded close to three hundred albums as a sideman and ten as a leader.
Chambers succumbed to the 'jazz bug,' as he calls it, in his first year of college. In the summer of 1961 he went on the road with R&B artist Bobby Charles, and landed in Washington, DC. While in DC, Chambers worked the famous Bohemian Caverns (I 961 -1963) with the JFKQuintet, a group that featured Andy White, multi-reed specialist; Walter Booker, bass; and Ray Codrington, trumpet. Joe also played piano during Sunday matinees, and continued to study composition at American University.

Working at The Caverns, Joe had many opportunities to meet outstanding jazz artists who performed in the club. He was urged to come to New York by Eric Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard and Wayne Shorter. He made that momentous move in the fall of 1963.

In New York, Chambers began to associate with the musicians who urged him to make the move, working first with Eric Dolphy and Freddie Hubbard. His first recording as a 'side man' was with the impressionable trumpeteer Freddie Hubbard in June 1964 (BREAKING POINT, Blue Note 1998).
Joe soon became established with the young innovative group of musicians, who were active in recording for the Blue NoteLabel throughout the sixties; Bobby Hutcherson, Andrew Hill, Sam Rivers, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock. Chambers, while establishing himself as a drummer par excellence, was also beginning to express himself as a composer and arranger, having written the poignant ballad Mirrors for Freddie Hubbard's BREAKING POINT. Subsequent compositions were Idle While and Dialogue on the Bobby Hutcherson album DIALOGUE, and the milestone recording COMPONENTS featured a whole side of Chambers' compositions.

Joe was involved with several bands from late 1964 to 1967 - Donald Byrd Quintet, Duke Pearson Big Bank, Joe Henderson Sextet - and the Bobby Hutcherson-Harold Land Quintet from 1967 to 1970.

In the summer of 1970, Max Roach called Joe and several other percussionists with the idea to form a percussion ensemble. M'Boom Re-Percussion Ensemble travelled in the United States and abroad, giving performances and clinics. The Group also recorded three albums, which include Chambers' compositions.

Through the 1970's, Joe continued to grow and mature musically and personally. He performed with such notables as Sonny Rollins, toured Japan with the Tommy Flanagan-Art Farmer Group, and performed and recorded with the bassist and master composer Charles Mingus. Joe made his first recording as a leader in 1973. Continuing to accompany others on drums he never forgot his initial entrance intomusic - the piano. His first recorded effort on that instrumentwas DOUBLE EXPOSURE, a duet with the late Larry Young on organ. Another piano album, JOE CHAMBERS PLAYS PIANO, was recorded in Japan and well received. Not one to become stagnant, Chambers continues to surprise the music world with just a little more to offer. His vibraphone debut was made on NEW YORKCONCERTO - Joe Chambers & Friends. Currently, Chambers is involved in education and composing and arranging for large ensembles.

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