A talented and versatile bassist, Jeff Chambers is known for his impeccable timing, dynamic rhythms and improvisational dexterity. Chambers musical style is both lyrical and playful. With his distinct touch, smooth sound and innovative sensibility he travels the vast tradition of rhythm-fueled bass playing, skillfully referencing his predecessors while exploring new musical territory.
Chambers masterfully breaks the conventionally accepted boundaries of his instrument and forges new melodic possibilities. According to San Francisco Chronicle music critic Phil Elwood, "Jeff Chambers makes playing upright bass look and sound so easy with his rhythmic sense and melodic vocabulary".
Chambers facility to play both acoustic and electric bass allows him to express himself fluidly in a variety of idioms, including Bebop, Funk, Latin, Blues, Reggae and Fusion. In any genre, Jeff chambers is an improvisational master. "When I am playing music I have one destination, but many routes. It doesn't matter which one I choose; there are many ways to go. The musicians are listening to one another. I can walk with them; then I can venture off, saying am going this way. I'll meet you down the path. Sometimes one is a leader, then another. We switch up. The path is clearer if I close my eyes. I don't have to see the path; I just have to hear the path."
Chambers began his career in Milwaukee on the electric bass with the renowned pianist and vibraphonist Buddy Montgomery. He studied at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music where he first began to play acoustic bass. His combo, #8, won first place in the College Division Awards in 1976, and the next year at the University at Notre Dame. But for Chambers, the chance to play full time with Buddy Montgomery offered an invaluable education and a quick entrance into the international world of jazz.
In 1978, he left the Conservatory and entered the University of Buddy Montgomery, touring extensively with the master. Since then, Chambers has toured all over the United States, Canada, Central and South America, Europe, Russia, Australia and Japan, performing with many of the world's most prominent jazz musicians.
He has played at venues such as the Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland); Concord Jazz Festival (CA); Monterey Jazz Festival (CA); Fujitsu Jazz Festival (Japan), the Newport Jazz Festival (RI) and countless others. He has also performed for the Black Entertainment Television Network at the St. Lucia and Anguilla Jazz Festivals.
Known as one of the foremost bassist in the country, he has played with many great jazz artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Les McCann, Eddie Harris, Benny Carter, Tommy Flanagan, Joe Henderson, Dakota Staton, McCoy Tyner, Joe Williams, Little Jimmie Scott, Tony Williams, Frank Morgan, Dr. Dorothy Donegan, Kenny Burrell, James Moody, Nat Adderley, Milt Jackson, John Hendricks, Benny Golson, Larry Coryell, Hank Crawford, Abbey Lincoln, Ernestine Anderson, Doug Carn, Don Cherry, Clifford Jordan, Laurindo Almeido, Linda Hopkins, Teddy Edwards, Roy McCurdy, Richie Cole, Slide Hampton, Jeff Hamilton, George Coleman, Mel Lewis, Archie Shepp, Cedar Walton, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Ahmad Jamal, Pharoah Sanders, Russell Malone, Red Holloway, Wallace Roney, Houston Person, Curtis Fuller, Hadley Caliman and many many others.
He is currently working with Marlena Shaw and beginning to headline his own band. Chambers has recorded with Bobby Hutcherson, Charlie Rouse, Buddy Montgomery, Freddie Hubbard, Eddie Harris, Jeffrey Osborne, Al Jarreau, Dizzy Gillespie, Marlena Shaw, Ahmad Jamal, Freddie Cole, and many more. (See Discography for complete list.)
Chambers has also worked in video and film. He appeared in M.C. Hammer's video, Here Comes the Hammer, 1991; performed All the Way with Jeffrey Osborne in the soundtrack for the film, Dying Young, 1991; appeared in Whoopi Goldberg's Sister Act, 1991; performed with Keanu Reeves in Sweet November, 2001; and is featured on a Delta Dental television commercial.
Jeff Chambers has taught bass, improvisation and combo direction at various institutions including The Brubeck Institute, University of the Pacific (Stockton, CA); San Francisco State University (San Francisco, CA); Jazz Camp West (Oakland, CA); The Jazz School (Berkeley, CA); Berkeley High School (Berkeley, CA); Fresno State University (Fresno, CA); and Dominican University of California (San Rafael, CA) and though out the greater Bay Area public school system. Chambers also teaches privately.