|Paul Chambers finally receives the Mosaic Select treatment and there's a surprise tossed in with his catalog for fans and connoisseurs: his material recorded for the Transition label. Also included on the Paul Chambers set are the albums Chambers' Music and Whims of Chambers from 1956 and Bass on Top and The Paul Chambers Quintet from 1957. Musicians on these dates ran the gamut from Elvin Jones to Donald Byrd, Clifford Jordan, Horace Silver, Kenny Burrell, Hank Jones, and Art Taylor -- an overwhelming number of fellow Detroiters. There are some other odds and ends as well, but most importantly, the Transition material will be of prime interest to John Coltrane fans. "Trane's Strain," an 11-minute legato orgy, was recorded and released on a Transition sampler called Jazz in Translation. It features Chambers, Coltrane, Pepper Adams, Curtis Fuller, Philly Joe Jones, and Roland Alexander. Two other selections, "High Step" and "Nixon, Dixon and Yates Blues," were recorded on the same day and issued on the Blue Note sampler High Step. Two other selections, "Chamber Mates" and "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," on which Art Blakey is featured, were originally issued on samplers as well: Blue Berlin and Blakey's Drums Around the Corner. What it all adds up to is nearly four hours of some of the most elegant, heated playing in hard bop history. Away from their membership in the Miles Davis Quintet, Chambers, Trane, and Jones created a standard for all of Chambers' recordings for Blue Note: complex yet airy arrangements, impassioned and highly stylized playing, and plenty of improvisation. This is a set that goes beyond the boundaries of standard Blue Note fare (which is high-quality fare, indeed) and extends into the realm of pure musicology as articulated by jazz. Most of the players on these sessions had their musical vocabularies altered permanently by their participation. Many harmonic ideas were born in these dates in the mid-'50s, and most are still being articulated and built upon to this day. This box is essential.
(A) John Coltrane, tenor sax; Kenny Drew, piano, Paul Chambers, bass, Philly Joe Jones, drums.
Coltrane does not appear on “Easy To Love” and “Visitation”.
Recorded at Western Recorders, Hollywood, California on March 2, 1956.
Originally issued as CHAMBERS’ MUSIC (Jazz West LP 7)
(B) John Coltrane, tenor sax; Pepper Adams, baritone sax; Curtis Fuller, trombone; Roland Alexander, piano (on “Trane’s Strain” only); Paul Chambers, bass; Philly Joe Jones, drums.
Recorded in Cambridge, Massachusetts on April 20, 1956.
#1 originally issued JAZZ IN TRANSITION (Transition TRLP 30). #2 & 3 originally issued on HIGH STEP (Blue Note BNLA 451-2)
(C) Donald Byrd, trumpet; John Coltrane, tenor sax; Kenny Burrell, guitar; Horace Silver, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Philly Joe Jones, drums
Originally issued as WHIMS OF CHAMBERS (Blue Note BLP 1534)
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on September 21, 1956.
(D) Donald Byrd, trumpet; Clifford Jordan, tenor saxophone, Tommy Flanagan, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Elvin Jones, drums
Originally issued on PAUL CHAMBERS QUINTET (Blue Note BLP 1564), except alternate take of “Four Strings” and the stereo masters, which were issued on the first CD release of this album (CD 8-52441-2).
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on May 19, 1957.
(E) Kenny Burrell, guitar; Hank Jones, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Art Taylor, drums.
Originally issued on BASS ON TOP (Blue Note BST 81569), except “Chamber Mates”, which was issued on the first CD release of this album (CD 7-46533-2). Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on July 14, 1957
(F) Paul Chambers, bass; Art Blakey, drums.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on March 29, 1959
“I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me” was originally issued on the compilation BLUE BERLIN (CD 7-99095-2). Both selections were issued on Art Blakey’s DRUMS AROUND THE CORNER (CD 5-21455-2).
Original sessions produced by Herbert Kimmel (A), Tom Wilson (B) and Alfred Lion (all others).
Recording engineers: Don Blake (A), unknown (B), Rudy Van Gelder (all others)