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Joe Chambers

Born and raised near Philadelphia to a musical family, Joe Chambers heard not only the rock and roll of Louis Jordan and Slim Gaillard, but the classical of Vivaldi, Wagner, Beethoven and Mahler. Drums came early. “I think an instrument picks you. I used to play on post and pans when I was little. I was setting them up like a kit at four years of age, so the instincts were there.”

More taken with Lester Young and Lionel Hampton than Little Richard, Chambers nonetheless soon joined a band playing all the R&B hits of the day. “We played 'house rock,' horn players walking the bar like Big Jay McNeely and Tiny Bradshaw. But then I started hearing esoteric jazz like Miles Davis, and that grabbed me. When I heard that at age 13, immediately I was hooked.”

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