Raised in Detroit, Chambers played with Kenny Burrell and by the mid-50s he was in New York City where he played with Paul Quinichette, Bennie Green, George Wallington, J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding. He then became a member of Miles Davis' quintet, playing alongside Red Garland and Philly Joe Jones to form one of the most accomplished bop rhythm sections, providing superb support to Davis and John Coltrane. Chambers was noticed not only for this but also for his solos, especially using the bow. Meantime, he also worked outside the Davis band, including appearing with Charlie Rouse and Julius Watkins, Les Jazz Modes (1956-8), in trio with Phineas Newborn and Roy Haynes, We Three (1958), and on Coltrane's High Step (1956) and Giant Steps (1959). On the latter, Coltrane's Mr P.C. is named for Chambers. At the end of the 50s, Chambers was still with Davis, then leading a sextet. Through into the early 60s, Chambers played with other leading hard bop musicians, including Kenny Clarke, Cannonball Adderley, Lee Morgan, Art Pepper, Sonny Rollins and Bud Powell. In 1963, Chambers joined Wynton Kelly's group, recording extensively for Vee Jay Records. Despite the enormous technical skill he possessed, Chambers underwent a spell of relative obscurity. In part, this was because he preferred the more traditional walking bass style and chose not to adapt to modal jazz. Also contributing to Chamber's decline from prominence was his addiction to hard drugs through which his last few years were blighted by poor health ending with death from tuberculosis.
Followers: Paul Brusger
Influenced By: Ray Brown...