"The most talented new bassist to enter
the jazz scene in recent years. That is the opinion of critics
and jazz men alike and offered by the time Paul Chambers was
barely twenty-one. Born Paul Lawrence Dunbar Chambers, Jr. in
Pittsburgh, in 1935, he started his professional career when only
fourteen, playing baritone horn and tuba around Detroit with
Kenny Burrell and other combos.
He left Detroit with "The
vice-Prez"-Paul Quinichette, and worked with him for about
eight months. Subsequently, in 1955, he was heard with the combos
of Benny Green, Joe Roland, J. J. Johnson and Kai Winding, George
Wallington, and Miles Davis with whom he played through most of
1956. His favorite bassists are ex.Elling- tonian the late Jimmy
Blanton; and cellist-bassist Oscar Pettiford.
Alto saxophonist Julian "Cannonball"
Adderley is also proficient on tenor, clarinet, flute and
trumpet. Such versatility between reed and brass instruments,
though not too common, lies in the fact that he studied brass and
reed instruments in high school in Tallahassee from 1944 to
1948... at which time he formed his first jazz group. Upon
graduation he became band director at Dillard High School in Ft.
Lauderdale. During this time (from 1948 - 1950) he also had his
own jazz group in south Florida. He became leader of the 36th
Army Dance Band while serving in the Army from 1950 - '52; led
another Army band at Ft. Knox from '52 - '53.
"Cannonball" first attracted attention in the musical
"pro" circuit when he sat in with Oscar Pettiford at
Cafe Bohemia in New York City in the summer of 1955; and almost
immediately was signed by one of the major jazz labels. In the
spring of '56 he and his brother Nat started touring with their
The nickname "Cannonball" evolved
from "Cannibal" - a name given him by high school
colleagues in tribute to his vast eating capacity. His favorite alto-saxophonists are the late Charlie Parker and Benny Carter -
so it's not surprising that he sounds much like the former on
up-tempo numbers and like Carter on ballads. With his advent on
the professional scene he was considered the outstanding new alto
saxophonist by musicians and critics alike; and since then has
gleaned a following that is legion.
On the four selections in which trumpet was
used the nod went to Freddie Hubbard - a young man from
Indianapolis, Indiana who is currently working with Sonny Rollins
. . - and who, for the past few months, has enjoyed the
acceptance of John Coltrane as well.
Pianist Wynton Kelly was brought to this
country from his native Jamaica at the age of four. He was
playing professionally when only eleven; and when he was fifteen
went on a Caribbean tour with the Ray Abrams Octet. He worked
mostly in the rhythm and blues field for the next few years; and
was accompanist to Dinah Washington for three years. He was a
member of the Dizzy Gillespie combo when only twenty-one years
old. His musical versatility is demonstrated by the fact that he
not only plays most modern piano, but has also played organ for
Sunday mass in his church in Brooklyn.
The talented "Philly Joe" Jones is
the drummer on "Awful Mean"; the balance of the
drumming chores fell to Jimmy Cobb - who has also worked with
Dinah Washington, Cannonball's old group, and with Miles Davis.
In "AWFUL MEAN" Philly Joe's ominous
drum roll brings on the four-man firing squad for this moderate-temped blues, the pace for which is set by Chambers'
bass. The melody, as laid down by "Cannonball" in the
first chorus, hits the musical mark with the devastation of
Birdshot. The mood is funky; and solos by Wynton Kelly, then
Adderley, are followed by the leader's "coup de grace,"
using a bow rather than the traditional .45. Just to make sure,
Philly Joe adds some tasty sharpshooting of his own -
After a unison first chorus on the old favorite
"JUST FRIENDS", Hubbard, Kelly, Adderley and Chambers
solo in that order for two choruses apiece. Paul's agility in
bowing on this up-tempo swinger is remarkable; and Jimmy Cobb
drives and punctuates well through. out. One has the feeling that
here are close "aficionados," rather than "just
"JULIE ANN" (named for a daughter in
the Adderley household perhaps?) is a fast waltz, but often with
a cross-rhythm 4/'4 feel to it. Paul is pizzicato on this one,
soloing first followed by Freddie and the composer in turn. It's
a pretty melody which everyone apparently enjoyed playing - as
evidenced by a fade at the end, rather than a definite close-out.
"THERE IS NO GREATER LOVE" finds the
quartet in a relaxed mood and at a moderate tempo; and if you
have eyes to dance about now, this is your meat. Paul walks his
bass with authority.
Despite the boppish syncopation reminiscent of
the late '40s of the first and ride-out choruses, the blend of
Hubbard's muted trumpet and Cannonball's alto in lower register
than when he is soloing brings to mind the precision and sound of
another group under the aegis of a stellar bass man of twenty
years or so ago, John Kirby. The phrasing of Charlie Shavers and
Russell Procope in the Kirby group was less abrupt, of course;
but the sound and attack were most similar to what we hear in
Paul's composition, "EASE IT"
Gershwin's 1930 hit "I GOT RHYTHM"
(from the show "Girl Crazy") is a flag-waving finale
with a pace that brings to bear on the dexterity and fluid drive
of all concerned. Jimmy Cobb boots things along and solos more
extensively than heretofore
Dick Martin Station WWL ,New Orleans
Recording Supervised by SID Mc COY