By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
At age 63, Joe Chambers ranks as one of the most notable drummers and percussionists of his generation, and a staple of the venerable (and once-independent) Blue Note label.
Not only have his highly imaginative compositions been covered by the likes of Freddie Hubbard and Bobby Hutcherson (with whom he's also performed), but he has gone on to write the scores for several Spike Lee films, including She's Gotta Have It (1986) and Mo' Better Blues (1990). Chambers has continued to tour and record over the years, blending various rhythms and sonic textures into his music, which is not limited to just jazz. Instead he brings in inspiration from the sounds he grew up around in Philadelphia, including R&B, gospel, and rock, mixing them in with his conservatory-trained technique.
This eclectic approach is telling on his new release, The Outlaw (Savant), in which he presents original material and new arrangements of a handful of covers (including Duke Ellington's "In A Sentimental Mood"), stepping away from the drum kit to concentrate for the first time in his career on the vibraphone and other instruments. The CD cycles seamlessly through modern jazz, samba, soft, synth-laden melodies, and even Afro-Cuban sounds, revisiting the past but also keeping a keen eye on what lies ahead.
For his appearance at the Arturo Sandoval Club, he will front his quartet as a vibraphonist, backed by Doug Bickel (piano), Joe Remer (bass), and Brian Stich (drums), and feature material from the new disc.