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Paul Chambers: Mosaic Select: Paul Chambers

Paul Chambers is no stranger to the retrospective hand of Mosaic: In 2001, the late bassist shared a spotlight on The Complete Vee Jay Wynton Kelly-Paul Chambers Sessions 1959-61, an impressive six-CD set. This time around, reissue producer Michael Cuscuna has condensed four solo albums and a few stand-alone rarities onto three discs-and the resulting box, although half the bulk of its predecessor, provides a more comprehensive portrait of Chambers’ gifts.

As an instrumentalist, Chambers was legendary in his own time for hard-driving bass lines, uncannily nimble pizzicato solos and a singing arco tone. True to form, he hits all three targets dead center here-so much so that it’s nearly impossible to single out highlights among the 30-odd assembled tracks. Still, some performances do stand out: Chambers’ bowed manifesto on “Tale of the Fingers” (a retread of “Strike Up the Band”) is nothing short of dazzling, and his plucky choruses on Benny Golson’s “Minor Run-Down” amount to a lesson in bluesy swagger.

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