Thomas Chapin: Drinkin'
Thomas Chapin (alto sax)
I've Got Your Number (Arabesque AJ0110)
Thomas Chapin (alto sax),
Ronnie Mathews (piano), Ray Drummond (bass), Steve Johns (drums).
Composed by Thomas Chapin.
Recorded: New York, January 11, 1993
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Thomas Chapin was an essential figure in the experimental downtown New York music scene of the 1990s, centered around the Knitting Factory, but he relished playing in any context from free jazz to mainstream. His early stints with the bands of Lionel Hampton and Chico Hamilton, and his studies with Jackie McLean and Kenny Barron (among others), gave him a solid foundation from which to expand. "Drinkin'" is a track from one of his two excellent, more straight-ahead Arabesque CDs, a tune meant to profile, as he put it, "a reeling kind of drunk." Chapin's alto opens with a vociferous shriek, then some gutbucket, high-pitched bluesy exclamations, unaccompanied except for scattered bass-note punctuations from Drummond. Chapin smoothly segues into the convoluted theme, which combines enticing riffs with a gliding, almost tongue-in-cheek extended line. After Mathews's pleasurably diverse solo, Chapin takes over with a tone possessing a wide vibrato similar to Arthur Blythe's, blending brisk lengthy runs and expressive tremolos, exultant yet in control. Johns then delivers a fine solo that skillfully adds bass-drum accents to his emphatic stick work. One can only marvel at Chapin's proficiency and passion, and wonder what might have been if his life had not been cut short by leukemia at the age of 40.
Reviewer: Scott Albin