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Joe Chambers: The Almoravid

Recorded in 1971 and ’73 and originally issued on Muse, this album seems part of the Bitches Brew aftermath without directly imitating that famous Miles Davis album. Built around Chambers’ drums, it frequently employs electric piano, prominent Fender bass, and extra percussion. While the leader’s drum solos are crisp and powerful and his accompaniment dynamic and invigorating, the album is limited by ostinato bass patterns, scant melodic interest, and a scarcity of horn solos (especially in view of who the horn players are).

The ’71 session’s two tunes include trumpeter Woody Shaw, trombonist Garnett Brown, and tenor saxophonist and flutist Harold Vick, plus Chambers, Cecil McBee (acoustic bass), and George Cables (electric piano). The single horn solo belongs to Shaw on “Medina.” The ’73 sessions includes four performances by Chambers,Richard Davis or WalterBooker (Fender bass), and Omar Clay, Ray Mantilla, and Davis Friedman or Doug Hawthorne (percussion), with Cedar Walton (piano, electric piano) on two cuts. The tunes (four originals by Chambers and one each by Joe Zawinul and Andrew Hill) are linked by an Afro-Spanish exotica.

Originally Published