Paul Chambers

Chambers #1Oscar Pettiford is the bassist generally assumed to have picked up where Jimmy Blanton left off, with Ray Brown, Red Mitchell, Percy Heath and others following in his footsteps. Paul Chambers (1935-1969) was the star of the next generation of bassists who came of age in the mid 1950’s. Among other achievements, Chambers is the first jazz bassist to earn dual renown as an arco and pizzicato soloist. Born in Pittsburgh, he grew up in Detroit and took up the double bass around 1949. While he was studying at Cass Tech (1952 to 1955), he had opportunities to interact with Thad Jones and Barry Harris. His formal bass training started in 1952, when he began taking lessons with a bassist in the Detroit Symphony. By the time he left for New York at the invitation of Paul Quinichette, he was already greatly experienced.

Paul Chambers - Episode 1

From 1954 on through 1955, he gained significance touring with such musicians as Bennie Green, Paul Quinichette, George Wallington, J. J. Johnson and Kai Winding. In 1955 he joined the Miles Davis quintet, staying on with the group until 1963 and appearing on many classic albums, including Kind of Blue. One of Chambers' most noted performances was on that album's first cut, "So What," which opens with a brief duet featuring Chambers and pianist Bill Evans. He free-lanced frequently as a sideman for other important names in jazz throughout his career.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Sepia PanoramaJimmy Blanton1941
The ThemePaul Chambers/Miles DavisThe New Miles Davis Quintet1955
Tail of the FingersPaul ChambersThe Whims of Chambers1956
Dear Old StockholmPaul Chambers/Miles DavisRound About Midnight1956
You’re My EverythingPaul Chambers/Miles DavisRelaxing1956
C Jam BluesPaul Chamber/Red GarlandGroovy1957
I’m Confessin’Paul ChambersBass on Top1957

Paul Chambers - Episode 2

This podcast will continue with recordings of bassist Paul Chamber. Between 1957 and 1960 Chambers was involved in some of the most important recording sessions in jazz, including all of Miles Davis recordings, but also work with John Coltrane, Red Garland, Jackie McLean, Blue Mitchell, Lee Morgan, JJ Johnson, Sonny Rollins, Bud Powell, Art Pepper, Cannonball Adderley, and many others. These are some of Paul’s most memorable recordings that feature him in supporting and solo roles. His sound and bass lines are probably his most recognizable qualities. His improvisations feature horn-like lines; how could he not be influenced the great musicians he played with?
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
YesterdaysPaul ChambersBass on Top1957
Blue TrainPaul Chambers/John ColtraneBlue Train1957
The Very Thought of YouPaul Chambers/Red GarlandRed Garland’s Piano1957
Black OutPaul Chambers/Red GarlandCan’t See for Lookin’1958
I Got RhythmPaul Chambers/Cannonball AdderleyJust Friends1959
So WhatPaul Chambers/Miles DavisKind of Blue1959
Someday My PrincePaul Chambers/Miles DavisSomeday My Prince Will Come1961