Click here to [close]

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Thomas Chapin Trio - Ride (Playscape, 2006) ****

This is Thomas Chapin's last recorded live date, at the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague in 1995. Chapin died from leukemia in 1998 at the age of 40. This is one of his better albums, and as often his trio consists of Mario Pavone on bass and Michael Sarin on drums. The band is at its peak, after having toured for years, and they play with conviction and with joy. Saxophonist Chapin, a student of Jackie McLean, is hard to pigeon-hole. He is first and foremost one huge powerhouse of energy, and his music often starts with themes which are close to riffs in rock music. The anger which is typical for rock or punk music is often present in his performances, yet he is not afraid to be melodious and even sentimental, like in his cover of The Beatles' Ticket To Ride, but his music is always paradoxically rough and sensitive, energetic and contained, powerful and soft. His compositions are also not to be under-estimated. He could suddenly stop melodies, give them a quick rhythmic turn, and then change the whole thing again into a third variation, and all this at top speed, requiring fantastic concentration and interplay from the musicians. "Pet Scorpion" on this album is a nice example of this. The whole CD is full of intensity and the joy of playing. At the festival, their performance was sandwiched between their own musical heroes : Jackie McLean and Roy Haynes preceded them, and David Murray, Fred Hopkins and Andrew Cyrille played right after them. This fact obviously gave the trio wings. A great record.