“I’ve always been into AfroCuban, rumba, guaguancó — that sound. It’s in my blood. I listened to that music when I was little, growing up outside Philly.”
– Joe Chambers
Tracing jazz and blues roots, you can draw cultural and musical lines from mainland Africa to Portugal, Brazil and Argentina – up through the Caribbean to the American Gulf Coast. Anchored in rhythms that instantly touch the soul and rouse the spirit, legendary drummer, vibraphonist, percussionist and composer Joe Chambers explores these deep musical connections on his third Blue Note release, “Dance Kobina.” And after six decades as a sideman and leader recording more than 500 albums – including seminal works with Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Max Roach, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, and Dizzy Gillespie – there’s no better guide for the journey.
Joyous and ruminative, Dance Kobina plays like a warm tropical breeze – with several Joe originals, some hot new tunes, and some cool new twists on enduring classics – all informed or subtly influenced by AfroCuban guaguancó (a multi-percussive precursor to rumba).
Recording sessions for the album took place in New York and Montréal with a global cast of talent, and the two distinct settings provided Joe, as producer and arranger, the opportunity to experiment with the musicians and stretch the harmonic and rhythmic possibilities. Further testament to his mastery, Joe performed double and sometimes triple duty on many of the tracks playing drums, vibes and percussion. High points include his fresh spin on “This Is New,” which he recorded with Chick Corea in 1966; “Gazelle Suite,” with its poly-metered gallop; the ethereal glow of “Intermezzo;” and the vibrant bembe groove of the title track.
Throughout, whether on sticks or mallets, Joe plays with an economy of motion and an abundance of style. And the lasting beauty of the album comes through in the nuanced ways each piece relates to its counterparts. “What makes a great suite great?” Joe asks. “The relationship between the various parts. These pieces – they’re different, but they connect. And I hope the people will feel that connection when they listen.”
Listen to Joe Chambers' "This Is New"
Listen to Joe Chambers' "Dance Kobina"