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Paul Chambers

Paul Laurence Dunbar Chambers, Jr. (April 22, 1935 – January 4, 1969) was one of the most influential jazz bassists of the 20th century. A prominent figure in many rhythm sections during the 1950s and 1960s, his importance in the development of jazz bass can be measured not only by the length and breadth of his work in this short period but also his nearly perfect time, intonation, and virtuosic improvisations. Born in Pittsburgh on April 22, 1935, Chambers was raised in Detroit where he studied music. He entered music through a windy side entrance when he and several schoolmates were fin ...read more

Paul Laurence Dunbar Chambers, Jr. (April 22, 1935 – January 4, 1969) was one of the most influential jazz bassists of the 20th century. A prominent figure in many rhythm sections during the 1950s and 1960s, his importance in the development of jazz bass can be measured not only by the length and breadth of his work in this short period but also his nearly perfect time, intonation, and virtuosic improvisations. Born in Pittsburgh on April 22, 1935, Chambers was raised in Detroit where he studied music. He entered music through a windy side entrance when he and several schoolmates were fingered to take up music and the baritone horn became his assignment. Later he took up the tuba. "I got along pretty well, but it's quite a job to carry it around in those long parades, and I didn't like the instrument that much." Chambers became a string bassist around 1949 in Detroit, where he had been living for a while since the death of his mother. Playing his first gig at one of the little bars in the Hastings Street area, he was soon doing club jobs with Thad Jones, Barry Harris and others who have since effected the Detroit-New York junction. His formal bass training got going in earnest in 1952, when he began taking lessons with a bassist in the Detroit Symphony. Paul did some classical work himself, with a group called the Detroit String Band that was, in effect, a rehearsal symphony orchestra. Studying at Cass Tech. off and on from 1952 to 1955, he played in Cass' own symphony, and in various other student groups, one of which had him blowing baritone sax. By the time he left for New York at the invitation of Paul Quinichette, he had absorbed a working knowledge of several armfuls of instruments. 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 the 1959 classic Miles Davis album Kind of Blue. In fact, one of Paul's most noted performances was on that album's first cut, "So What," which opens with a brief but sublime duet with pianist Bill Evans. Possessing one of the most immediately recognizable bass playing sounds and styles, Paul Chambers was the bulwark of the Miles Davis quintets and sextets from the mid-'50s through the early '60s. From 1963 until 1966 Chambers played often with the Wynton Kelly trio, also freelancing as a sidemen for other important names in jazz all throughout his career. Over his lifetime Paul Chambers developed addictions to both alcohol and heroin. On January 4, 1969 he died of tuberculosis at the premature age of 33. Discography As leader Chambers' Music (Aladdin/Jazz West, 1956) Whims Of Chambers (Blue Note, 1956) Paul Chambers Quintet (Blue Note, 1957) Bass on Top (Blue Note, 1957) Go (Vee-Jay, 1959) 1st Bassman (Vee-Jay, 1960) As co-leader (w/John Coltrane) High Step (Blue Note, 1956) (w/Hampton Hawes) The East/West Controversy (Xanadu, 1957) (w/Roy Haynes & Phineas Newborn) We Three (Prestige/New Jazz, 1958) (w/Julian "Cannonball" Adderley) Ease It (Charly/Affinity, 1959) (w/Julian "Cannonball" Adderley) Just Friends (Charly/Le Jazz, 1959) As sideman Julian "Cannonball" Adderley Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (EmArcy, 1955) Cannonball Adderley Quintet In Chicago (Mercury, 1959) (w/John Coltrane) Cannonball and Coltrane (Phillips, 1965) Nat Adderley Introducing Nat Adderley (Mercury/Wing, 1955) Naturally! (Jazzland, 1961) Toshiko Akiyoshi The Toshiko Trio (Storyville, 1956) Toshiko Mariano and her Big Band (Vee-Jay, 1964) Lorez Alexandria Alexandria The Great (Impulse!, 1964) Chet Baker Chet (Riverside, 1959) Kenny Burrell Kenny Burrell (Blue Note, 1956) (w/John Jenkins) John Jenkins With Kenny Burrell (Blue Note, 1957) Sonny Clark Sonny Clark Trio (Blue Note, 1957) Sonny's Crib (Blue Note, 1957) Cool Struttin' (Blue Note, 1958) Jimmy Cleveland Introducing Jimmy Cleveland And His All Stars (EmArcy, 1955) John Coltrane Blue Train (Blue Note, 1957) Coltrane (Prestige, 1957) Bahia (Prestige, 1958) Black Pearls (Prestige, 1958) Lush Life (Prestige, 1958) Settin' The Pace (Prestige, 1958) Traneing In (Prestige, 1958) Settin' The Pace (Prestige, 1958) Soultrane (Prestige, 1958) Stardust (Prestige, 1958) The Believer (Prestige, 1958) The Last Trane (Prestige, 1958) (w/Milt Jackson) Bags and Trane (Atlantic, 1960) Giant Steps (Atlantic, 1960) (w/Julian "Cannonball" Adderley) Cannonball and Coltrane (Phillips, 1965) Miles Davis Miles (Prestige, 1955) 'Round About Midnight (Columbia, 1955) Cookin' (Prestige, 1956) Relaxin' (Prestige, 1956) Steamin' (Prestige, 1956) Workin' (Prestige, 1956) Miles Ahead (Columbia, 1957) Milestones (Columbia, 1958) Porgy and Bess (Columbia, 1958) Kind of Blue (Columbia, 1959) Sketches of Spain (Columbia, 1960) Someday My Prince Will Come (Columbia, 1961) Quiet Nights (Columbia, 1962) Kenny Dorham 1959 (Prestige, 1959) Kenny Drew Kenny Drew Trio (Prestige, 1956) Curtis Fuller Curtis Fuller with Red Garland (Prestige, 1957) Curtis Fuller Jazztette with Benny Golson (Savoy, 1959) Red Garland A Garland of Red (Prestige, 1956) Dig It! (Prestige, 1957) Groovy (Prestige, 1957) Red Garland Revisited! (Prestige, 1957) Red Garland's Piano (Prestige, 1957) P.C. Blues (Prestige, 1957) Can't See For Lookin' (Prestige, 1958) It's A Blue World (Prestige, 1958) Manteca (Prestige, 1958) All Kinds of Weather (Prestige, 1959) Herbie Hancock Inventions and Dimensions (Blue Note, 1963) Barry Harris Bull's Eye (Fantasy, 1968) Dexter Gordon Dexter Calling (Blue Note, 1961) Benny Golson Benny Golson's New York Scene (Contemporary, 1957) The Modern Touch (Riverside, 1958) Groovin' With Golson (Prestige, 1959) Turning Point (Mercury, 1962) Joe Henderson Four (Verve, 1968) Straight, No Chaser (Verve, 1968) Freddie Hubbard Here to Stay (Blue Note, 1962) Milt "Bags" Jackson (w/John Coltrane) Bags and Trane (Atlantic, 1960) Statements (Impulse!, 1961) John Jenkins (w/Kenny Burrell) John Jenkins With Kenny Burrell (Blue Note, 1957) J. J. Johnson The Eminent J.J. Johnson, Vol. 2 (Blue Note, 1955) (w/Kai Winding) Trombone For 2 (Columbia, 1955) (w/Kai Winding) The Great Kai & J. J. (Impulse!, 1960) Wynton Kelly Kelly at Midnite (Vee-Jay, 1960) Kelly Great (Vee-Jay, 1960) Wynton Kelly! (Vee-Jay, 1961) Comin' in the Back Door (Verve, 1963) Abbey Lincoln That's Him (Riverside, 1957) Jackie McLean McLean's Scene (Prestige/New Jazz, 1957) Capuchin Swing (Blue Note, 1960) Jackie's Bag (Blue Note, 1961) Hank Mobley Tenor Conclave (Prestige, 1956) Roll Call (Blue Note, 1960) Soul Station (Blue Note, 1960) Workout (Blue Note, 1961) Another Workout (Blue Note, 1961) The Turnaround! (Blue Note, 1965) Thelonius Monk Brilliant Corners (Riverside, 1956) Lee Morgan Leeway (Blue Note, 1960) The Rajah (Blue Note, 1966) Wes Montgomery Smokin' At The Half Note (Verve, 1965) Willow Weep For Me (Verve, 1969) Oliver Nelson The Blues and the Abstract Truth (Impulse!, 1961) Art Pepper Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section (Contemporary, 1957) Gettin' Together (Contemporary, 1960) Sonny Red Out Of The Blue (Blue Note, 1960) Freddie Redd Shades of Redd (Blue Note, 1960) Redd's Blues (Blue Note, 1961) Sonny Rollins Tenor Madness (Prestige, 1956) Sound of Sonny (Riverside, 1957) Frank Strozier Fantastic (Frank Strozier album) (Koch Jazz, 1960) Kai Winding The Trombone Sound (Columbia, 1955) (w/J. J. Johnson) Trombone For 2 (Columbia, 1955) (w/J. J. Johnson) The Great Kai & J. J. (Impulse!, 1960) « hide

Similar Bands: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Red Garland, Ray Brown, Ron Carter

Bass On Top
1957

4.6
9 Votes
Whims Of Chambers
1956

4.5
3 Votes

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