Saturday, October 24, 2009

More Thomas Chapin, Please...

Thomas Chapin, God bless 'em, was born about three months before I was, and died in 1998.  That is a little reminder to me of one of the central truths of Buddhism: that no one can escape death.  Chapin's approach to music is central to my book of jazz: stay rooted in the tradition, but push the envelope.  His output is mostly edgy page four, but he has a loyalty to melody that keeps me rooted in his horn lines. 

I've blogged about Night Bird Song album.  I recently acquired Sky Piece and Haywire.  The former, like NBS, is easy to come by.  I think he recognized NBS and SP as his seminal works.  Haywire presents the Chapin Trio with strings.  Jazz with strings is usually a way for a big name horn to make a lot of money with syrupy music to feed a heroin habit.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  Chapin's jazz with strings is something else altogether. 

Here are some samples to whet your appetite and get your credit card out of your wallet. I posted one version of Night Bird Song, from the album of that name.  Here is another, so good you should keep it in a lock box. 

Thomas Chapin/Night Bird Song/Sky Piece
And here is a delicious piece from Haywire.  

Thomas Chapin Trio + Strings/Diva/Haywire


  1. Thomas Chapin brings back great memories for me. He lived in the very next town, Manchester, CT. He would play in the local clubs while in HS and College in the late 70's. He always wore this beatnik beret, and put is body and soul into his playing like no one I had have ever seen or heard. He was sort of a local 'underground' hero around here. He moved to NYC, and I never had heard or seen him again. Years later we heard of a big return concert in Manchester to raise money for his medical bills for his treatment for Leukemia. I regret terribly not going to that.

    His longtime musical collaborator Mario Pavone (bass), still plays often around Connecticut (and the rest of the world). Mario is a great jazz artist and composer of avant-garde jazz somewhat in the tradition of Chapin, though usually a larger ensemble.

    Anyway, thanks Ken B, for re-introducing me to Thomas Chapin. Since reading your posts, I downloaded more of his albums and am enjoying Chapin's music with a greater understanding and appreciation now of his artistry.

  2. Thanks for the great comment, Ken. One of my few regrets in life is that I was too busy in grad school to seek out the jazz scene in Southern California. So I have to make do with your East Coast memories.

    Chapin certainly plays with heart. There is a box set of his recordings out there, but I have found it hard to come by or prohibitively expensive. Anyway, Chapin's music is worth digging up.