Monday, January 23, 2017
The Drummer as Composer: Joe Chambers
It's been awhile since I've blogged on the topic of Jazz drummers who also happen to be composers (personally think this is quite ironic given the considerable amount of time and energy that I spend daily thinking about this subject!) Anyways, here's a little gem from Bobby Hutcherson, my all-time vibraphone hero, on the importance of composing music, passed along from his friend and compatriot, the great Joe Chambers
“Joe Chambers told me that in order to complete your cycle you have to write, that way you can document what was going through your mind and where you were harmonically, theoretically, historically, to kind of show the things that you were thinking about, how you were feeling and the things you were working on,” Hutcherson said. “Are you working on a theory to create a puzzle, to be able to go in this side and get through the maze? Are you just looking for little situations, small motifs, little questions and answers? Are you looking for secondary melodies to come in, completely different from this but they will all add up? Then there’s the sound of the elements, the sound of wind, the sound of rain, how the notes and melodies are contained in a sunny day or a rainy day."
- as told by Bobby Hutcherson via Jazz Times magazine:
Personally, I find little pieces of compositional wisdom such as this to be quite inspiring and motivating in my own compositional pursuits.
In my opinion Joe Chambers is an underrated Jazz drummer, vibraphonist AND composer (!), someone who we should all check out and learn from. At the very least his cymbal beat on Joe Henderson's "Mode for Joe" will forever stick in my mind (as does his playing on Wayne Shorter's "The All Seeing Eye" and "Adam's Apple" and absolutely everything he ever recorded with Bobby Hutcherson are other favorites as well...)
Here's an interview with Joe Chambers via Neon Jazz to check out:
Given that I'm an aspiring drummer composer myself, I find Chambers to be a great role model to follow. In fact, given his multi-faceted talents, in my opinion Chambers should serve as a role model for all aspiring Jazz drummers in today's day and age.