Joe Chambers on M'Boom
AAJ: So your mallet playing doesn't come from your classical training. It comes out of your jazz drumming and piano playing.
JC: Right. Absolutely. It's percussion.
AAJ: And you also have a long association with Bobby Hutcherson.
JC: Yeah. Of course I'm no master of the mallets and when I tell Bobby this he gets mad, but I found it easy because I already played piano...I had the theory and I had the drumming technique. To me it's just a piano, it's just like a piano. It's set up like a piano, so I know the theory. I just haven't played; I don't have the experience that those people have.
AAJ: So you started playing vibes in M'Boom.
JC: Yes, because we all had to learn. We all had to learn everything. All the mallets, all the percussion. We had to learn hand drumming. Of course, we were all drum set players. It's just amazing.
AAJ: How was the music developed for M'Boom?
JC: Well we came in. Went to Warren Smith's. Warren Smith, of course, was one of the charter members. Warren Smith, myself, Roy Brooks, Omar Clay, Freddie Waits and then later Ray Mantilla for the Latin side of it. We came into Warren's studio, Warren had all the stuff set up and he sat there (laughs) and said, "Alright. Now what are we going to do. (laughs) And Max played a series of recordings for us and said, "Now this is what we don't want to do. He played a bunch of recordings for us of classical percussion ensembles. There's a lot of written material, written repertoire material for percussion ensembles in the classical world. He said "Check this out. This is what we don't want to do. You know, have everything written out. Okay, all right, so that's that. So then we listened to...we were all familiar with African ensembles and then we had the Latin element. Then we just started bringing in pieces, bringing in things. And that's the way it evolved. I started, everyone, we all started bringing in stuff.
Of course, percussion has the widest timbre of sound of any section of the orchestra. The degree, the wide variety of timbre of sound available is just completely amazing. When we went out and did gigs, we had at least a hundred cases of stuff, of instruments. When you look at percussion it's divided into membranophones, idiophones, aerophones, chordophones. You have all of that variety of sound available and yet it's the least exploited section of the orchestra.
· Bobby Hutcherson - Components (Blue Note, 1965)
· Bobby Hutcherson - Dialogue (Blue Note, 1965)
· Bobby Hutcherson - Oblique (Blue Note, 1967)
· Max Roach - M'Boom (Columbia-Legacy, 1979)
· M'Boom - Live at S.O.B.'s, New York (Blue Moon, 1992)
· Joe Chambers - Mirrors (Blue Note, 1998)