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Mr. P.C.

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Named one of the best books of 2012 by The New York City Jazz Record

Winner of the 2013 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research in Jazz

During his thirteen year career, between 1955 and 1968, Paul Chambers was one of the leading double bass players in jazz, performing with a variety of artists and in a range of the music’s sub-genres. He recorded over three hundred LPs for labels such as Blue Note, Riverside, Mercury and Columbia Records. Chambers performed as a sideman with many of the greatest names in jazz including Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Rollins, Wes Montgomery, Joe Henderson, Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Gil Evans and Freddie Hubbard. He recorded a half dozen albums under his own name that included his own compositions, but is probably best remembered for his contribution to the greatest jazz recording of all time: Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue.

Mr. P.C. tells the story of this quiet giant of jazz: his early experiences in Detroit, his rise to jazz celebrity, his time at the top, his ultimate struggle against the tides of change enveloping the music that he loved, and the circumstances surrounding his tragic death, aged 33, in 1969. Featuring interviews with family members, friends and colleagues with the jazz fraternity, this book represents the first time that much of this influential musician’s story has been told. It includes a comprehensive discography detailing all of his recordings both as a sideman and a band leader.

Published: Nov 1, 2012

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
Acknowledgements Rob Palmer
Introduction Rob Palmer
Chapter 1
Motor City Scene Rob Palmer
Chapter 2
New York, the Jazz Corner of the World Rob Palmer
Chapter 3
Chamber's Music Rob Palmer
Chapter 4
Workin' with Miles Rob Palmer
Chapter 5
Bass on Top Rob Palmer
Chapter 6
Milestones Rob Palmer
Chapter 7
Blue Steps Rob Palmer
Chapter 8
Sketches and Beyond Rob Palmer
Chapter 9
After Miles Rob Palmer
Chapter 10
Big Paul Rob Palmer
End Matter
Epilogue Rob Palmer
Notes Rob Palmer
Discography Rob Palmer
Bibliography Rob Palmer
Index Rob Palmer

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'Mr PC is a highly authoritative text, constructed with painstaking attention to detail and lucidity. ...if there is one book that will alter perceptions of the place of both
Paul Chambers and his instrument in the jazz pantheon, then this is it.'

Kevin Le Gendre, Echoes, 2013

'...the research into Chambers' final years is enlightening and this is an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate his massive contribution.'
, June 2013

Fellow bassist Rob Palmer has taken Chambers as a primary subject for his book and treated us to an exhaustive account of the great bassist’s life and music. Palmer gives us insightful reviews of the sounds made in many record dates in which Chambers participated. As a jazz musician, the author is able to provide his readers with technical accounts of the music on these recordings, not just the subjective impressions that could come from a typical jazz journalist. His work also sports a huge discography, which by itself is worth the price of the book.
This book should prove indispensable to students of jazz bass, historians of modern jazz, and fans who love hard bop. It constitutes a reference work that every music library should have.
Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association