Thomas Chapin cast a giant shadow on this concert recorded at the North Sea Jazz Festival in 1995. Chapin brought bassist Mario Pavone and drummer Michael Sarin alonga stellar cast which delivered a stellar performance. Chapin, who passed away in 1998, had the imagination that took his compositions into different realms. He never let freedom get into the way of expressing a delectable melody. He could complement one with the other to create a exhilarating and seamless whole.
Pavone says that the trio was at its zenith when they got to the North Sea festival. The truth of that statement is stamped in the performance, which sheds light on the trio's diversity of approaches, as well as the musicians' collective and individual virtuosity.
Chapin blazes into "Anima, opening a free highway. Even as he paves it with a torrid cobblestone of notes, he cools the path with melodies that take various forms, including a Middle Eastern bridge. That introduction sets up a constantly shifting tide of tempo and tonality. Chapin gets into a reflective mood and then kicks into high gear, unleashing a torrent of notes that throb and resonate with passion. Pavone calms the sizzle with an ornate solo that finds him strumming the strings of his bass, opening the sound and letting the tune breathe, making for a delightful interlude.
Chapin fills "Night Bird Song with an irreducible beauty. Having made that impression, he moves on to the saxophone, swinging into extended parameters without forsaking the melody. When the time to fragment the lines comes, he applies a big, muscular attack. Shape is again in constant shift on "Ticket to Ride, where Chapin teases and tantalizes, essaying the melody and then tying it into knots. He then lopes into a strident journey, extending tension and caterwauling before dipping back into the melody. The spell is now complete, making this document an electrifying experience.
Personnel: Thomas Chapin: alto and sopranino saxophones, flute; Mario Pavone: bass; Michael Sarin: