Joe Chambers

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Joe Chambers is a legend. He made his name in the early 1960s, playing on a string of some of the most adventurous Blue Note Records sessions of the time. He can be heard on albums like Bobby Hutcherson‘s Dialogue, Wayne Shorter‘s The All Seeing Eye, Andrew Hill‘s Compulsion, McCoy Tyner‘s Tender Moments, and many more. He also backed Archie Shepp on Fire Music, On This Night, New Thing At Newport and For Losers, and he was the drummer on Chick Corea‘s debut album, Tones for Joan’s Bones. He maintained a long creative partnership with Hutcherson; the two men made something like 10 albums together.

Chambers didn’t record as a leader until the 1970s, but one of his pieces had a significant afterlife in the ’90s. “Mind Rain,” from Double Exposure, an album where Chambers played piano, duetting with organist Larry Young, was sampled by DJ Premier for “N.Y. State of Mind,” from Nas‘s debut album, 1994’s Illmatic. On his new album, Samba de Maracatu, Chambers reworks the piece as “New York State of Mind Rain.”

This is a really interesting conversation about Chambers’ long career as both a musician and an educator (he taught at the New School in New York for many years, and now lives and teaches in North Carolina). I hope you’ll enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed having it. And if you do enjoy this podcast, please consider visiting and becoming a subscriber. For just $5 a month, you can help keep this show and Burning Ambulance as a whole active and thriving. Thanks!

Music heard in this episode:

Joe Chambers, “Mind Rain” (Double Exposure)

Joe Chambers, “Visions” (Samba de Maracatu)