Music was a state of being; it was never something I had to consider.



March 9, 1957 in Manchester, CT



Alto, Tenor, Soprano, Sopranino and Baritone Saxophones, Clarinet, Flute, Pan Flute, Shakuhatchi, Chinese Wei, Piano, and various percussion


in his own words

"I've found the truer I am to myself, and to my music, the better people react to it." - Hartford Courant

A versatile multi-instrumentalist, bandleader and composer, in the 80s and 90s, Thomas Chapin led a trio performing his own music playing in New York City’s downtown scene, and at festivals and clubs around the world. An outstanding composer of larger works as well, he sometimes augmented the trio with strings and horn ensembles.

Though leukemia tragically ended his life in 1998 at age 40, Thomas Chapin left behind a legacy of superb recordings and performances, and a reputation as one of jazz’s more extraordinary musicians – one of the few musicians to exist in both the worlds of the downtown, experimentalist scene and mainstream jazz.

He continues to be a highly influential and inspirational force to those who knew him and to those who continue to know him through his music and example.

As a saxophonist, flutist, composer, and bandleader, Chapin was tireless in his passions, seemingly effortless in his mastery, and never without a provocative point of view. He’s remembered right now as a powerful musical force cut short in his prime. He will be remembered for the ages as one whose focus and spirit changed the nature of the music and musicians around him.
— Larry Blumenfeld (Jazziz, July, 1998)


Thomas' legacy continues to live in new performances, tributes and other events. Watch this space for announcements.


Featured Stories

Read interviews, featured articles and memories from Thomas' collaborators and admirers.

Downtown Standout


Something here about the stuff in the Music section - highlights. Maybe one or two songs that are playable. Maybe videos.