Track Listing

Disc One: Thomas Chapin Trio "Third Force"

1 Ahab's Leg 10:14
2 Poet O Central Park 4:49
3 Iddly 7:38
4 Tale Of The Sands 8:36
5 Third Force 7:55
6 Then 1:26
7 Resolution 678 8:05
8 Now 0:42
9 Boy On A Dolphin/Stairs 10:21
10 Eternal Eye (Intro) 1:13

Disc Two: Thomas Chapin Trio "Anima"

1 Lift Off (Short) 1:12
2 Anima 10:23
3 Native Green 8:21
4 Little Machines 11:56
5 Seeds 3:39
6 Hat & Shoes 10:53
7 00 1:54
8 Fez 9:50
9 Lift Off 4:55

Disc Three: Thomas Chapin Trio Plus Brass "Insomnia"

1 Pantheon 11:22
2 Insomnia 8:52
3 Equatoria 6:53
4 Trio 1 10:43
5 Coup D'État 9:43
6 Trio II 1:57
7 Golgotham 18:30
8 Iota 1:03

Disc Four: Thomas Chapin Trio "Menagerie Dreams"

1 Bad Birdie (Trio 1) 10:10
2 Menagerie Dreams 1:40
3 Raise Four 7:00
4 The Night Hog 5:45
5 Poignant Dream 7:39
6 A Drunken Monkey 12:48
7 Daydream 7:33
8 Put You Quarter In And Watch The Chicken Dance
9 Foxwoods Stomp

Disc Five: Thomas Chapin Trio Plus Strings "Haywire"

1 Haywire 11:31
2 Diva 5:31
3 The Devil's Hopyard: Eidolon 4:51
4 The Devil's Hopyard: Bump In The Night 2:23
5 The Devil's Hopyard: Hoofin' 9:47
6 The Devil's Hopyard: Bugbears 11:26
7 The Devil's Hopyard: At Peace With My Demons 8:45
8 Geek Gawkin' 15:51

Disc Six: Thomas Chapin Trio "Sky Piece"

1 Sky Piece 6:12
2 Bypass 8:26
3 Just Now 3:02
4 Alphaville 8:32
5 Night Bird Song 10:57
6 Triptych 3:22
7 Ask Me Now 8:03
8 Don't Mind If I Do 5:26
9 Changes 2 Tyres 3:26
10 Essaouira 6:26
11 And... 1:04

Disc Seven: Thomas Chapin Trio "Night Bird Song"

1 Opening 2:45
2 Alphaville 7:03
3 Night Bird Song 8:46
4 Cliff Island 8:22
5 The Roaring S 5:49
6 Aeolus 6:01
7 Tweeter's Little Adventures 6:51
8 Changes Two Tires 5:21

Disc Eight: Thomas Chapin Trio "Live! On Tour"

1 Intro 0:43
2 Anima 14:27
3 Hat And Shoes 8:22
4 Ahab's Leg 16:00
5 Iddly 10:33

Recording Information

Alive is an 8-CD boxset compilation of Chapin's albums for Knitting Factory Works with a bonus live CD. Alive, formerly produced by KnitFac Records is now property of Akasha, Inc.

Liner notes

George Lane,


For many long-time veteran jazz professionals of the “old-school” values – that is, passionate commitment in search of virtuosity with new and innovative ideas, development through apprenticeship with masters, looking toward the future with the proper knowledge of the past, and respect for the wisdom and mastery of the music’s elders – the past 25+ years has been a most distressing time. The overwhelming focus on “young lions” plucked from institutionalized schooling by industry bigwigs, coupled with a backward-looking mentality that has never before been associated with jazz has created a situation that is threatening the very life force of the music, making it a stodgy museum piece that has lost much of its relevance and profound meaning to our culture.

In this foggy morass of confused notions and vague, unformed concepts a few Beacons of Truth have shown the way to those who want to uphold the traditional values, ancient wisdom and deep spirituality that have always been the true legacy of jazz. One of the brightest was the brilliant composer/multi-reedman Thomas Chapin. Having come up the old-fashioned way – studying with master saxophonist Jackie Mclean and apprenticing with Chico Hamilton and Lionel Hampton, whose personal “institutions of higher learning” have spawned countless giants of the music – Thomas himself became a role model and inspiration for many, many young (and older!) musicians during the 1990s. Not only did his superb artistry, unique musical vision and unbridled passion uphold the highest ideals of Jazz, but his warmly sincere humanism and deep spirituality made him an utter joy to know. It’s often said of some special people, “to know him is to love him.” Thomas was the embodiment of that concept. This made his terribly tragic death in 1998 from leukemia at the age of 40 all the more painful.

Like many of the other masters who died so young – John Coltrane (40), Eric Dolphy (36), Charlie Parker (35), Clifford Brown (25) – Thomas’ legend has grown since his departure and will continue to grow. As with them, the unanswered questions of what might have been are tempered with an extraordinary body of work that they left behind. Not only did Thomas record more than a dozen albums over the last 10 years of his life, but there are numerous recordings and unrecorded compositions that will hopefully become available to help extend his remarkable legacy to future generations of musicians and listeners. Here are a few CD recommendations of some of his finest offerings, all available through his legacy organization, Akasha at .


ALIVE, 8-CD Boxed Set of Thomas Chapin Trio

If extraordinary multi-reedman/flautist Thomas Chapin were on the scene in the 60s or 70s his rightful place as a Jazz great would be secure. But in the revisionist, conservative 90s, Thomas instead became a beacon of the music’s true potential and a reminder that the innovation, virtuosity and passion that has always been fundamental to Jazz, was not yet completely dead among its younger players.

Now that Thomas is no longer with us, having succumbed to leukemia in 1998, all we have left are his recorded works and the memory of his incredible live performances for those of us fortunate enough to have been present at one. Fortunately, New York City’s throwback to the 70s loft scene, The Knitting Factory, provided Chapin both a home base of operations and a record company, issuing seven separate CDs recorded between 1990-96.

Now, in tribute to his legacy, they have collected all of these CDs plus an additional 1992 concert (an enhanced CD that includes video footage from the 1995 JVC Festival) in an 8-CD set called ""Alive."" Beautifully produced, with plentiful photographs and each CD sleeve a color reproduction of some of Thomas’ gorgeous collages, this set is a labor of love, painstakingly produced by the Knitting Factory and Chapin’s wife, Terri Castillo-Chapin.

Featuring his spectacular trio of bassist Mario Pavone and percussionist Michael Sarin (Steve Johns is on two CDs), the music is consistently exciting, urgent and filled with a synergistic spontaneity that is nothing short of amazing. Chapin’s musicianship is incredible - explosively lyrical, articulate and personal. His extraordinary compositional skills notable on the trio pieces are especially outstanding on the augmented ensemble recordings ""Insomnia"" (with brass) and ""Haywire"" (with strings).

Much of the material was recorded live, capturing the tremendous interplay and palpable sense of adventure and creativity that abounded at his concerts, including the new CD, a fine performance at the University of California, Davis on a Knitting Factory tour.

Although Thomas is no longer present, Alive is a perfect title because he will always be with us in his fantastic music.