Never Let Me Go Reviews

Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

December 2012

THOMAS CHAPIN QUARTETS '95 & '96 - Never Let Me Go [3 CD Set] (Playscape 111095; USA) The Thomas Chapin Quartet '95 features Thomas on alto sax & flute, Peter Madsen on piano, Kiyoto Fujiwara on bass and Reggie Nicholson on drums. The Thomas Chapin Quartet '96 features Thomas on alto sax & flute, Peter Madsen on piano, Scott Colley on bass and Matt Wilson on drums. I knew about this release just a few months before it came out since I am still friends with Terri Chapin, Thomas' wife. I was indeed looking forward to it as with anything that Thomas produced or played live during his less than two decade recording career.

What I didn't fathom were two things: first, that this would become a three CD set that is riveting from the beginning until the end more than three hours later and that it would be released just in time for the holiday season of 2012 and hence be a gift to all of us that have suffered with the sad events of the previous year.

While playing this set in the store earlier this month, Matt Lavelle, a fine musician and writer of his own who didn't know much about Thomas remarked that each of Thomas' solos started at the top of the energy level and went up even higher and higher! It's true! The more I listen to these two complete live sets, the more I believe that Thomas Chapin was always taking off into the next world. His energy, vision and music was hard to contain so it just kept going, moving forward and touching more & more folks along the way.

After seven fabulous trio CDs on the Knitting Factory label, Thomas was again evolving with a couple of fine hard-swinging CDs on Arabesque. This quartet with the amazing pianist Peter Madsen was the next step. Both of these quartets are/were on fire for these dates. They are exuberant beyond belief, smoking, burning, pushing and swinging harder than can be believed. Every solo by Thomas on sax or flute and every solo by Mr. Madsen on piano is a gem.

I play one disc from this set every couple of days to treat myself to this colossal treasure chest of wonders. If you're a jazz lover or who someone who still believes in miracles then make yourself happy - listen to this set - closely, over and over. Thomas Chapin sadly passed away way too early in his career at just 40 in 1998 from leukemia.

He asked before his passing that we never let his music be forgotten. When the music is this strong and filled with the heavy spirits, how can we (n)ever let it go?!?