Thomas Chapin

Last updated

Thomas Chapin (March 9, 1957 February 13, 1998) was an American composer and saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist. Though primarily an alto saxophonist, he also played sopranino, as well as soprano, tenor, baritone saxes and flute. Many of his recordings as a leader were in a trio with bassist Mario Pavone and drummer Michael Sarin. Chapin studied with Jackie McLean , Paul Jeffrey , and Lionel Hampton. He died of leukemia three weeks before his 41st birthday. He played at a benefit concert two weeks before his death.



Chapin was born on March 9, 1957 in Manchester, Connecticut. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts where he studied classical music and jazz. In the late 1970s he attended the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, studying with saxophonist Jackie McLean. In 1980 he graduated from Rutgers University where he studied with saxophonist Paul Jeffrey, pianist Kenny Barron and guitarist Ted Dunbar. From 1981 to 1986 he toured with Lionel Hampton as lead saxophonist and musical director. He performed with Chico Hamilton's band from 1988 to 1989.

In the late 1980s he formed quartets, quintets, and a band and album devoted to Brazilian music, Spirits Rebellious (Alacra). He founded Machine Gun with guitarist Robert Musso and a trio with bassist Mario Pavone and drummers Steve Johns and later Michael Sarin. In 1994 the trio performed at Madarao Jazz Festival in Japan, where he also played with Betty Carter, and at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1995. He formed larger groups (Trio with Brass, Insomnia, Haywire, and Trio with Strings) and performed with Ray Drummond, Anthony Braxton, Tom Harrell, Sonny Sharrock, John Zorn, Walter Thompson, Dave Douglas, Marty Ehrlich, and Ned Rothenberg. He recorded over fifteen albums as a leader.

Chapin died of leukemia in 1998 at the age of forty. [1]


As leader and co-leader

George Alford, Peter McEachern, Phil Buettner, Nick Makros, Lucian Williams, Mario Pavone, Emmett Spencer, Matt EmerzianBell of the HeartAlacra 1005recorded and released 1981LP
Ronnie Mathews, Ray Drummond, John Betsch et al.RadiusMuWorks 1005; USrecorded 1984, released 1990CD, LP, CS
Machine Gun (Robert Musso/Thomas Chapin/John Lunar RIchey/Jair–Rohm Parker Wells/Bil Bryant) + Sonny Sharrock/Karl BergerLive at CBGB's Vol. 1 : June 2, 1987MuWorks 37 CR; USreleased 2008CD
Francesca Vanasco, Saul Rubin, Thad Wheeler, Geoffrey GordonSpirits RebelliousAlacra 1017; USrecorded and released 1988LP
Motation (Mario Pavone, Michael Musillami, Thomas Chapin, Peter McEachern, George Sovak, Mike Duquette)Live at the HillsideAlacra 1014; USrecorded 1988, released 1989LP
Machine Gun + Sonny SharrockMachine GunMuworks 1001; USrecorded and released 1988CD, LP, CS
Machine Gun + Sonny SharrockLive at the Gas Station: December 3, 1988MuWorks 46 CR; USreleased 2008CD
Machine Gun + Sonny SharrockOpen FireMuWorks 1003; USrecorded and released 1989CD, LP, CS
Machine GunLive from the Court Tavern: February 24, 1990 + December 8, 1990MuWorks DR 03; USreleased 2008DVD
Thomas Chapin Trio with Mario Pavone, Steve JohnsThird Force KnitWorks 103; USrecorded 1900–1991, released 1991CD
Machine GunLive From the Webo Art Space: September 22, 199MuWorks DR 01; US)released 2008DVD
Thomas Chapin Trio with Mario Pavone/Steve JohnsAnimaKnitWorks 121 B; USrecorded 1991, released 1992CD, CS
Thomas Chapin & Borah BergmanInversionsMuWorks 1009; USrecorded and released 1992CD, CS
Machine GunPass the AmmoMuWorks 1011; USrecorded and released 1992CD, LP, CS
William Hooker Crossing PointsNoBusiness LP 30/31; Lithuaniarecorded 1992, released 20112–LP set
William HookerCrossing PointsNoBusiness CD 28; Lithuaniarecorded 1992, released 2011CD
Mario Pavone, Michael Sarin + Brass: Frank London, Curtis Fowlkes, Peter McEachern, Marcus Rojas, Al BryantInsomniaKnitWorks 132; USrecorded 1992, released 1993CD
Mario Pavone, Michael SarinNight Bird SongKnitWorks 240; USrecorded 1992, released 1998CD
Ronnie Mathews, Ray Drummond, Steve Johns I've Got Your Number Arabesque 110; USrecorded and released 1993CD
Mario Pavone, Michael Sarin + John Zorn, Vernon FrazerMenagerie DreamsKnitWorks 167; USrecorded and released 1994CD
Tom Harrell, Peter Madsen, Kiyoto Fujiwara, Reggie Nicholson You Don't Know Me Arabesque 115; USrecorded 1994, released 1995CD
Mario Pavone, Michael SarinRide: North Sea Jazz Festival 1995Playscape 71595; USreleased 2006CD
Peter Madsen, Kiyoto Fujiwara or Scott Colley, Reggie Nicholson or Matt Wilson Never Let Me Go: Quartets '95 & '96Playscape 111095; USreleased 20123-CD set
Avantango (Pablo Aslan, Thomas Chapin, Ethan Iverson)Y en el 2000 tambien: Tango & JazzEpsa 16020; Brazilrecorded 1996CD
Peggy Stern, Thomas Chapin Quartet with Drew Gress, Bobby Previte The FuchsiaKoch 7837; USrecorded 1995, released 1997CD
Mario Pavone, Michael Sarin + Strings: Mark Feldman, Boris Raskin, Kiyoto FujiwaraHaywire: Live at The Knitting Factory 1996KnitWorks 176; USreleased 1996CD
Mario Pavone, Michael SarinSky PieceKnitWorks 208; USrecorded 1996, released 1998CD
Borah BergmanToronto 1997Boxholder 033; USreleased 2003CD

As sideman

With Machine Gun

With Mario Pavone

With others



Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lionel Hampton</span> American jazz musician, bandleader and actor (1908–2002)

Lionel Leo Hampton was an American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, percussionist, and bandleader. Hampton worked with jazz musicians from Teddy Wilson, Benny Goodman, and Buddy Rich, to Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, and Quincy Jones. In 1992, he was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and he was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1996.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jim Black</span> American jazz drummer

Jim Black is an American jazz drummer who has performed with Tim Berne and Dave Douglas. He attended Berklee College of Music.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jair-Rôhm Parker Wells</span> Musical artist

Jair-Rôhm Parker Wells is an American electric bassist. He is one of the founding members of the improvising band Machine Gun with Thomas Chapin and Robert Musso and the founder of the Meeting Interdisciplinary Arts Festival in Stockholm, Sweden. He lived in Stockholm, Sweden, from 1985 until 2017.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ned Rothenberg</span> American musician and composer

Ned Rothenberg is an American multi-instrumentalist and composer. He specializes in woodwind instruments, including the alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, and shakuhachi. He is known for his work in contemporary classical and free improvisation. Rothenberg is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He was a founding member of the woodwind trio New Winds with J. D. Parran and Robert Dick. He has performed with Samm Bennett, Paul Dresher, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, Marc Ribot, Elliott Sharp, John Zorn, Yuji Takahashi, Sainkho Namtchylak, and Katsuya Yokoyama.

Jazz in Spain began with an interest in Dixieland or New Orleans jazz. In that time it evolved into other styles, often influenced by visiting Americans. In 1947 Don Byas introduced Tete Montoliu to bebop, and other efforts to combine jazz with flamenco occurred. Catalan and Galician music have influenced some regions.

Discography for jazz saxophonist Anthony Braxton.

Byard Lancaster was an avant-garde jazz saxophonist and flutist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pheeroan akLaff</span> American jazz drummer

Pheeroan akLaff is an American jazz drummer and percussionist. He began playing in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan and Ann Arbor, with R & B keyboardist Travis Biggs, funk keyboardist Nimrod “The Grinder” Lumpkin, The Ebony Set and The Last Days. He moved to New Haven, Connecticut, and formed a group with saxophonist/flautist/percussionist Dwight Andrews. He debuted with saxophonist Bill Barron in 1975, followed by a tenure in Leo Smith's ‘New Dalta Ahkri’ (1977-1979).

Robert Naughton was an American jazz vibraphonist and pianist.

Andy McGhee was a tenor saxophonist and educator.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roy Nathanson</span> Musical artist

Roy Jay Nathanson is an American saxophonist, composer, bandleader, actor and teacher. He became the leader and principal composer of the Jazz Passengers, a six piece group that he founded with Curtis Fowlkes in 1987. They have toured Europe many times and played at major festivals in Finland, Germany, Italy, France and Switzerland, as well as the J.V.C. Festival in New York, the Du Maurier Festival in Canada and toured throughout the United States and Canada. The band has recorded eight albums since their debut release.

Peter Michael Yellin was an American jazz saxophonist and educator.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mark Whitecage</span> American saxophonist (1937–2021)

Mark Whitecage was an American jazz reedist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mario Pavone</span> American jazz musician (1940–2021)

Mario Pavone was an American jazz bassist, composer and bandleader. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead offers that Pavone was not only "great bass player [but also a] big-hearted mensch."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1986 in jazz</span> Overview of the events of 1986 in jazz

This is a timeline documenting events of Jazz in the year 1986.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peter Madsen (pianist)</span> Musical artist

Peter Madsen is an American jazz pianist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jerome Harris</span> American jazz musician

Jerome Harris is an American jazz musician specializing in electric and acoustic bass guitar, electric guitar, voice, and occasionally lap steel and small percussion.

<i>Mythos</i> (Mario Pavone album) 2002 studio album by Mario Pavone Nu Trio / Quintet

Mythos is an album by bassist/composer Mario Pavone recorded in 2001 and released on the Playscape label.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Michael Sarin</span> American jazz drummer (born 1965)

Michael Towne Sarin is an American jazz drummer.

Stephen Samuel Johns is an American jazz drummer and educator.


  1. Watrous, Peter (1998-02-15). "Thomas Chapin, 40, Raucous Jazz Musician". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2018-12-24.