Updated: Jan 17
I once took a class with drummer Ralph Peterson whose hero was Art Blakey and said about him, "Art Blakey plays with fire."
If Art Blakey plays with fire, Paul Chambers plays with lightning.
How? Tension and release.
But while other Paul Chambers lines like the famous So What and Blue Train often create tension by way of linear climbs and descents, I Could Write A Book also creates it with rhythmic and harmonic embellishments.
Sure, you have the typical Chambers cliches (and I mean that in a flattering sense, as his cliches are wonderful bass line vocabulary) like mm 45-46.
But you also have a B natural played strongly on a C-7 chord in measure 65.
You have a Db on beat one of a G-7 chord in measure 189.
And check out the rhythms from 102-108 when Coltrane is also firing on all cylinders.
It's also worth noting that Chambers can do all this and make it sound incredible because he has such a strong command of the fundamentals. Time, harmony, song form.
Put otherwise, he knows the rules so well that -- whether intuitively or intentionally -- it sounds compelling when he breaks them.