Urban Grooves

ARTIST: Joe Chambers
Gary Bartz, Eric Reed, Rufus Reid, Bobby Sanabria

Avatar Studios
Produced by Yasohachi “88” Itoh
Assistant Producer : Kyoko Aikawa
Recording Engineer : David Baker
Assistant Engineers : Woody Pornpitaksuk, Peter Doris and Aya Takemura
Mastering Engineer : Koji “C-chan” Suzuki / Sony Music Studios Tokyo
Coordinators : Kiyoko Murata and Akira Tanaka / Sound Wing Limited

This recording, tracked at Avatar Studios in New York City, features Gary Bartz on sax, another master jazz musician. He has been a good friend of Joe Chambers since the '60s. They have performed together frequently, but they have not had the chance to record together that much. Pianist, Eric Reed, is the youngest member, being born in 1970 in Philadelphia. He gained prominence by joining Winton Marsalis' band when he was just 18. Other members include veteran bassist Rufus Reid, and Bronx born popular Latin jazz percussionist, Bobby Sanabria.


  1. Third Street
    This is an original composition by Joe Chambers. It highlights his unique accents and rhythmic patterns. The exquisite timing of Joe Chamber's drums playing off the piano creates a terrific groove.
  2. Softly as in a Morning Sunrise
    This is a jazz standard born from a musical The New Moon. Ever since the Modern Jazz Quartet performed it, many different versions have been recorded. The soprano sax solo by Gary Bartz is nicely contrasted with the piano trio part, featuring the inviting playing of Joe Chambers.
  3. Sid's Ahead
    This is a Miles Davis composition from his album Milestones. Joe Chambers plays the marimba and then drums without any overdubs. He has modernized the song with a new arrangement.
  4. In a Sentimental Mood
    This is a beautiful ballad written by Duke Ellington. It is usually played at a slow tempo, but in this version, a medium slow tempo is used. The mastery of Gary Bartz on alto sax can be heard in the smooth melody line and deep tonality.
  5. Stella by Starlight
    This is romantic standard from the movies and easily recognized by jazz listeners. This track was recorded with a piano trio. The original theme / melody appears in the latter half of the performance. With the superb back up playing by Joe Chambers on drums and Rufus Reid on bass, Eric Reed lets loose with imaginative ad-libs.
  6. Surrey with the Fringe on Top
    This is from the hit musical Oklahoma. Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins both made a memorable recording of it. This track is performed as a piano trio featuring the playing of Eric Reed. Listen to Joe Chambers' cymbal work and accents.
  7. Irina
    This track is one of four songs that Joe Chambers wrote for vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson's album, Patterns (1968). Here, Joe Chambers plays the vibraphone himself with authority.
  8. Portia
    This Marcus Miller composition was first introduced on Miles Davis' Tutu (1986). The song itself has a bit more contemporary feel to it, but Joe Chambers' arrangement plays it in more jazz colors than the original.
  9. Afreeka
    This is another Joe Chambers original composition. As the title suggests, it is Joe Chamber's musical thoughts about freedom. Listen to the groove created by the multitude of rhythms including his marimba.

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