Tom 1960

Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones

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When I first started listening to jazz music over 20 years ago, I was pretty amazed at how many classic dates from the 50's/early 60's these two played on. You always kind of figured if these 2 guys were teamed up it had to be a pretty decent session. I was just recently listening to Kenny Dorham's "Whistle Stop" a 1961 date and got to thinking when and why this dynamic team ceased recording together? Also, to make this fun what are some of your favorite dates that Chambers and Jones played on? That's a tough one for me.

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When I first started listening to jazz music over 20 years ago, I was pretty amazed at how many classic dates from the 50's/early 60's these two played on. You always kind of figured if these 2 guys were teamed up it had to be a pretty decent session. I was just recently listening to Kenny Dorham's "Whistle Stop" a 1961 date and got to thinking when and why this dynamic team ceased recording together? Also, to make this fun what are some of your favorite dates that Chambers and Jones played on? That's a tough one for me.

Off the top of my head, "Cool Struttin'" and "Kelly Great."

P.S. And Miles' "Milestones." Interesting how each of those dates has its own feel.

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what are some of your favorite dates that Chambers and Jones played on?

Without doubt, the 1956 sessions that produced Miles's Workin', Cookin', Steamin' and Relaxin'. Together with Red Garland, they create jazz rhythm section perfection as far as I'm concerned.

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Chet Baker in New York would probably rank high on alot of lists.

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Also, to make this fun what are some of your favorite dates that Chambers and Jones played on?

Blue Train, Another Workout, Serenade To A Bus Seat, Goin' Up, Cool Struttin', Cookin' with the Miles Davis Quintet.

Edited by Cyril

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Chet Baker in New York would probably rank high on alot of lists.

I thought this session was a big mismatch.

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Chet Baker in New York would probably rank high on alot of lists.

I thought this session was a big mismatch.

Yeah, Baker sticks out like a sore thumb.

:g

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Also, to make this fun what are some of your favorite dates that Chambers and Jones played on?

Blue Train, Another Workout ... Cookin' with the Miles Davis Quintet.

Those, too, plus the rest of the series "Cookin'" is from. Again, the "feel" of each of those dates seems fairly specific -- a sign I would think (if true) of how alert and in the moment Chambers and Jones tended to be, PJJ especially. I only saw him play once, but I was essentially looking over his left shoulder from a table half a step up from the bandstand. I can close my eyes and see him. It was like watching Fred Astaire.

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Nice thread! Cool Struttin' and Workout come to mind.

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I glanced at the Philly Joe Jones discography online, and it looks like the last session they played together was December 16, 1961 (Ike Quebec). I found that pretty surprising given that Paul Chambers lived until 1969 (I also hadn't realized that Chambers was only 33 when he died). Of course, after 1961 Jones seems to have recorded a lot less (particularly after 1962).

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Boy, there are just so many great dates with these two together, but if we're talking definitive examples of their art together, two I haven't seen mentioned yet are "Kelly at Midnight," a Wynton Kelly Trio record on VeeJay with the tune called "Temperance" as one of the best of the best; and the Sonny Clark Trio LP on Blue Note ("Two Bass Hit," "Tadd's Delight).

Otherwise, I'd say "Milestones" and "Relaxin'" (they kill on "Tune Up" and "Blues by Five" on "Cookin'" too); "Cool Struttin' and "Blue Train." A few others that may not be on the level of the preceding but which come to mind immediately as records that I love are Lee Morgan's "The Cooker," the half of Jackie McLean's "Jackie's Bag" that they play on together; Miles' "Porgy and Bess," Freddie Hubbard's "Goin' Up," Dexter Gordan's "Dexter Calling" and the first Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section record, KD's "Whistle Stop."

Larry's on to something about the way they played in the moment, helping craft a unique feel on so many dates, influenced by the material, the players and the mood in the studio, while also, of course, bringing their particularly unique hook-up. I've tried to analyze their time feel and I've always heard it this way -- PC. plays on the beat, a tiny fraction ahead of Philly Joe, so the bass gives the impression of pulling the rhythm section along; meanwhile, Philly Joe's high hat is right on the beat with PC, but his ride cymbal lays back on the time. Together, this creates a really w-i-d-e groove, both intensely relaxed and intensely fiery. But my ears could easly be playing tricks on me since perception of time can be very subjective. Anybody else got ideas on this topic? (Interestingly, I can think of a few tracks where they actually slow down as the piece progresses, but I can't think of any where they actually rush.)

One interesting footnote. I think there is only one of Philly Joe's records on which he used PC, but I think most or perhaps all of PC's dates as a leader included Philly Joe.

Edited by Mark Stryker

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I think Cookin' had the largest impact on be.

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I can't really think of a "best" example with this pair. They were always so good.

Perhaps some of the 1956 tracks with Miles are the most electric that I have heard.

It was sad that Philly Joe was basically just a sideman once he left Miles. What a waste. At least he was used on many albums. It's also sad that he and Bob Weinstock didn't get on. I like Art Taylor's playing a lot, but I bet Trane would have used Philly Joe on most of his Prestige dates if Bob had not disliked him.

Of course, he could be a hassle at a date, and he was known to pressure others into using smack.

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Let´s face it: The team Chambers Philly J.J. was the reason for me to become the jazz fan I´v been for decades. I´m not going to count the albums on which they team up, cause that´s more discographical stuff. Let´s say it this way. I had heard and liked some music before I heard my first copy of a Miles Davis Prestige date with the "first quintet", but the full sound of Paul´s bass together with the fantastic trapswork of Philly J.J., all that sounds and feelings would become the reason for me to really dig into the music. Sure, there´s much more to it, and I dug back into the past and further on into so called "New Thing", but Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones were the heroes of my youth, like maybe Erroll Flynn to the girls or so...

It´s something that never ceased to amaze me. I went so far I bought anything that´s round and has a hole in the middle, if it had those two giants on bass and drums. That´s how I became, for example the Hank Mobley fan I am. Authors of Miles Davis bios were not always kind to Hank, but I wanted to really get into his music and when I hold "Workout" in my hands I bought it without more thoughts: "if it´s got Paul and Philly J.J on it, it can´t be wrong".....you dig me?

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One of the more unusual dates that Philly Joe Jones played on is the 1983 Sun Ra All Stars European tour, issued last year as a 5 CD set. The band was Lester Bowie, Don Cherry, Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Richard Davis, Philly Joe Jones, Clifford Jarvis and Don Moye.

Edited by Hot Ptah

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Workin' was one of the first jazz albums I really loved - it was the only Miles the library had besides KoB, and for a long time I totally loved Wokin' while KoB sort of left me cold... can't say the later is still the case, but PJJ's presence on Workin' certainly had a big part in that first impression I got!

Then "Cool Struttin'" was probably among the first 20 CDs I had, also "Blue Trane".

"Dexter Calling" might not be the best of Dexter's Blue Notes (I think that would be, to my ears, the one with Hubbard and the Parlan trio, followed closely by "Our Man in Paris"), but the rhythm section there certainly makes a big difference (and I think Kenny Drew rarely sounded as good as here).

By now, an absolute favourite of mine is the "Sonny Clark Trio" album.

And the comments above will have me dig up the Chambers/Kelly VeeJay set soon...

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All their sessions with Miles. To me, that was THE Quintet--Miles, Trane, Red, Paul, Philly Joe. With the possible exception of Bill Evans' trio with Scott LaFaro, I don't think I ever heard any group play as perfectly together as that one did.

greg mo

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I was pretty amazed at how many classic dates from the 50's/early 60's these two played on.

same thing happened to me...

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what are some of your favorite dates that Chambers and Jones played on?

Without doubt, the 1956 sessions that produced Miles's Workin', Cookin', Steamin' and Relaxin'.

i'd have to think of that one, but that's a very good example.

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One of the more unusual dates that Philly Joe Jones played on is the 1983 Sun Ra All Stars European tour, issued last year as a 5 CD set. The band was Lester Bowie, Don Cherry, Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Richard Davis, Philly Joe Jones, Clifford Jarvis and Don Moye.

Have you heard the album? What's it like?

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I've shied away from it myself... maybe foolishly, I don't know. There is a Saturn LP from this group that pops up on occasion.

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Philly Joe really makes Shepp's Yasmina LP cook, however.

I also really like that Trailways Express LP on Polydor.

But of course neither of those have Mr. P.C.

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definitely for me one of the most dynamic bass-drums teams ever. The Miles stuff, the way PC and Philly laid a groove down was magic. And of course the way they work together with Hank on "Workout" is great too.

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I haven't heard the Ra albums, but did stumble on some clips of this a few months ago...there remains this one, although it's a real shame two others have been removed. There was a wonderful Don Cherry feature, and then a version of Poinciana where Gilmore was UNREAL.

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