Death creeps upon us all. Thomas Chapin knew that rather well when in 1997 he appeared at Toronto's Du Maurier Downtown Jazz Festival with Borah Bergman. Dying on stage of leukemia, Chapin exhaled massively fractious and powerful liveliness from reeds and flute nonetheless. There are numerous struggles, limitations and even some clear misses in his performance; even so, those instances simply meld beyond recognition, as Bergman is a veritable musical pararescue trooper. He can carry both to the end of the mission, or to paraphrase the U.S. Air Force pararescuemen's motto, the pianist performed "so that Chapin may live.
Both Chapin...of some note due to his trio work...and Bergman are well known among assiduous readers of Signal To Noise magazine, or addicted viewers of the Live From the Knitting Factory televised performances on BET Jazz. Otherwise, both are likely to be unknown beyond the Factory?s range of influence...which Chapin pioneered in so many ways and some currently lament as being either outdated or usurped by other musical interests. Nevertheless, Chapin...as in the A subsection of Part 4...blows a storm in this suite.
In the aforementioned subsection, Bergman...who's the type of musician for which the human realm seems ill suited as he transcends the limits of tempo, the instrument's physics, or even linear thinking itself...runs engagingly and compellingly. Chapin's runs ascend, descend and close with low toned swinging-bop-broad-sounding riffs and mournful screeches. They become even more so in the following section, where a balladesque air is issued both subvert and overtly during the first half of the piece before Chapin's closing screams and final low toned resignation.
Like all free improvisations, jazz notwithstanding, analysis shnalysis. You have to take this performance in on its own terms and see if it works for you.
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