Paul Chambers

Paul Chambers

Acoustic Bass icon Acoustic Bass

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January 4, 1969 (Age 33) died

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April 22, 1935 Birthday

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Birthplace


Paul Chambers was one of the top jazz bassists of his era and among the first to take bowed solos. At the age of 20 he joined Miles Davis' first quintet where he spent the bulk of his career (1955-1963). After leaving the quintet he worked with the Wynton Kelly Trio until 1966. Chambers recorded several albums as a band leader and was an in demand freelance musician working with John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Rollins, and Bud Powell among others. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 33 in 1969.


Chambers also played the baritone horn and tuba.John Coltrane wrote the song "Mr. P.C." on Giant Steps for Paul Chambers.Paul Chambers played on both Coltrane's Giant Steps and Miles Davis' Kind of Blue , two of the most important albums in jazz history.

Early Life

Paul Chambers was born in Pittsburgh in 1935 and grew up in Detroit. In 1952 he began taking bass lessons with the bassist from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and did some classical playing in addition to being part of the jazz scene around Detroit. After touring with Paul Quinichette he moved to New York and soon after joined Miles Davis' quintet.