264

Thomas Chapin Trio: Night Bird Song

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
A few weeks after his soon to be – critically acclaimed – “Sky Piece” was released in 1998, saxophonist-composer Thomas Chapin passed away, following his yearlong bout with Leukemia. After several years of journeyman status with the likes of notables such as Lionel Hampton, Anthony Braxton and Chico Hamilton, Chapin finally attained widespread recognition with his profoundly original 1996 Knitting Factory release, “Haywire”.

While recorded in 1992, Thomas Chapin intentionally deferred the final production and release of Night Bird Song as a follow up to the more recent “Sky Piece”. Not sure why Chapin would hold back such a brilliant recording of such supremely crafted music and ensemble work by a Trio which had been in existence since 1989? Perhaps Chapin was uncertain of the timing or was anticipating reaction to the “Sky Piece” release? Marketing or artistic reasons aside, Night Bird Song does in fact represent the final studio recording from this remarkable band consisting of Chapin, drummer Michael Sarin and bassist Mario Pavone.

Chapin’s “Alphaville” which is also presented on “Sky Piece” is a musically demanding yet sonorous composition, which is a good indicator of Chapin’s broad writing skills. Here, the Trio swing, toggle between left-of-center and modern bop while prominently demonstrating keen intuitiveness, vigor and passion. A master technician, Chapin was equally adept on alto sax, flutes and sopranino sax yet Chapin conveyed an aura of beauty and enchantment through his unique and very personal sound... A prime example here is the piece titled, “Cliff Island” which features Chapin’s gorgeous tone and acute phrasing performances on sopranino sax. Here, the mid-tempo rhythms so eloquently performed by Mario Pavone and Michael Sarin prod Chapin into a rapid-fire attack as Chapin dramatizes themes and pursues rich harmonic development and luscious melodies. Throughout, the Trio’s interplay is always fascinating yet many disparate moods prevail or take hold of us, as if we were overcome with a spiritual reckoning or transfixed in prayer. Despite the often fierce and uncompromising attitudes within his arrangements and compositions, Chapin maintained an aura or glow, which always seemed to hover atop or perhaps beyond the music. Compositions such as “Tweeters Little Adventure” and “Changes Two Times” illustrate the Trio’s free jazz tendencies while they also establish a seemingly harmonious convergence of mainstream or post-bop elements. “Changes Two Times” is a testament to Chapin’s often blazing alto sax work atop an impossibly fast yet well stated meter, performed with serious minded urgency. Mario Pavone’s deep wooden acoustic bass tone and Sarin’s crisp, meticulous drumming are performed with the proficiency of a finely tuned sports car... When they need to step on the gas and put the gears in full stride, they succeed with grace and flair.......easily one of the top rhythm sections in modern jazz... Night Bird Song is among the finest jazz releases of 1999 or any year for that matter...

* * * * *

Web: www.knittingfactory.com

Read Peter Madsen's tribute to Thomas Chapin in this month's Wide Open Jazz and Beyond .

| Record Label: Knitting Factory | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 26, 2016
Read "Lello's Italian Job, Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Lello's Italian Job, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "Still Happy" CD/LP/Track Review Still Happy
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 11, 2016
Read "Wash My Horse In Champagne" CD/LP/Track Review Wash My Horse In Champagne
by James Nadal
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "Two Steps from the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Two Steps from the Blues
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 18, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!