Venerated multi-instrumentalist Joe Chambers marks his return to Blue Note Records with his latest album Samba de Maracatu, his first recording for the label in more than 20 years.
The vibraphonist, pianist and drummer’s new album is a nine-song set of original compositions, standards, and pieces by Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutcherson and Horace Silver.
In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Chambers played with many jazz luminaries including Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson and Donald Byrd. He appeared as a drummer on some of Blue Note’s most progressive albums of the era, including Shorter’s Adam’s Apple and Etcetera, Hutcherson’s Components and Happenings, Freddie Hubbard’s Breaking Point and Joe Henderson’s Mode for Joe.
During that abundant period, Blue Note offered Chambers a chance to record his own album for the label, but he declined the opportunity in favour of continuing to record and tour with the many jazz greats who were giving him so much work. Chambers has since recorded a dozen albums as a leader, which eventually included his own Blue Note debut Mirrors in 1998.
Now on his 13th album, Samba de Maracatu, Chambers returns to Blue Note once again and asserts himself more as a mallet player, particularly on the vibraphone. Accompanied by Brad Merritt on keyboards and Steve Haines on bass, Chambers uses the vibraphone as the lead melodic and improvisational voice throughout the record. It incorporates various Brazilian rhythms and percussion instruments on several pieces, including the title track, which references the Afro-Brazilian rhythms that originated in the country’s northeast region.