As you'd probably expect and certainly won't be disappointed to realise after a few listens that there is a poise and space in Joe Chambers' return to Blue Note. Also it's a sense of occasion. Chambers, now in his late-seventies, appears on such seminal records as Chick Corea's Tones For Joan's Bones and Wayne Shorter's Adam’s Apple. I didn't like the hip-hop track but the vocal from 'Never Let Me Go' featuring Stephanie Jordan grew on me a lot. Chambers' vibes-playing vies to steal the show (sometimes you don't know if Joe the drummer is being led by Joe the vibist or vice versa if even that) and made me want to listen to a whole lot of Bobby Hutcherson records quite a few of which he also happens to be on. Best tracks are the title track and brilliant vibes-led treatment of 'Sabah el Nur' by Karl Ratzer, the melody line migrating away from guitar on the Ratzer Moon Dancer version. (Check out that Enja release from 1998 on which the composition appears.) Pianist Brad Merritt and double bassist Steve Haines provide stalwart support and Haines makes a seriously cool gloriously recorded opening contribution to 'Sabah'.
You learn a lot listening to Samba de Maracatu but it is not at all like being in the classroom more as if you are in the front row of the best jazz club you can think of and can hear everything you want to and it all makes sense. Let your imagination run riot as you journey to the heart of a sound that has influenced so many jazz fans for so many decades and continues to resonate. SG
Tags: Album / EP reviews