"Insomnia, the Thomas Chapin Trio Plus Brass, is the first larger ensemble work of Thomas Chapin for the trio format, composed and recorded live in 1991 in NYC for Knit Fac Music. As of 2004, all Thomas Chapin Trio CD releases are the property of Akasha Records.
Thomas Chapin, alto sax & flute
Mario Pavone, bass
Michael Sarin, drums
Al Bryant, trumpet
Frank London, trumpet
Curtis Fowlkes, trombone
Peter McEachern, trombone
Marcus Rojas, tuba
Ray Stewart, tuba on “Equatoria”
by Thomas Chapin
“The Shrine Within is approached with both discipline and intuition. My goal is to attain the Blessed State, to go beyond my usual sense of self.
“The Trio compositions are usually derived from ideas which arise as I practice my instruments, sing in the shower, dance around. The elements are loosely organized, brought into rehearsal, notes worked out in private, etc., and then I ask: ‘How do we make a piece out of this?’ And thus it evolves through interaction, acquiring form, character and a life of its own along the way.
“For this project, I chose to conceive the compositions (mostly) whole from the outset, expanding on feelings and concepts from the Trio vocabulary and relying on the interpretative powers of the larger group.
“I am often asked what my ‘influences’ are. I deny nothing, but as a listener I notice in this recording certain evidence of many aspects of the jazz heritage, including Lionel Hampton (my former employer), Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Ornette Coleman, and various other musics, “downtown” and otherwise: central African horn ensemble, Japanese shakuhachi, donkeys, chickens, birds in general, and a host of devils. What do you hear?
“I would also like to acknowledge two influences who may not be obvious to the be-hearer: Paul Jeffrey, who taught me by example the value of hard work and love for the music; and Gil Barretto, who helped me Recognize another self in my music and to develop the idea of giving over to that self when I play. Also thanks to Bill Singer, my sax doctor, Terri Castillo and Walter Thompson.
“Thanks to all concerned with this project—the Trio and our brass brothers, our recordists, tape editor, executive producer, cover artist, photographer, and numerous others (including the audiences!).”
All compositions and arrangements by Thomas Chapin © Peace Park Publishing
Recorded live at the Knitting Factory, NYC, December, 1992 by John Rosenberg and James McLean
Digital Editing by Ken Dias
Artwork by David Goldin
INSOMNIA is the property of Akasha, Inc.
George Lane, gnm.com
"Insomnia, by the Thomas Chapin Trio Plus Brass, recorded live in 1992 (excellent sound) is, simply put, a magnificent recording.
Chapin, who tragically succumbed to leukemia in 1998 at the age of 40, was best known for his work with his extraordinary trio (Mario Pavone, bass; Michael Sarin, drums). The addition of two trumpets, two trombones and tuba adds an incredible dimension. An outstanding composer, Chapin utilized the brass beautifully. African trumpet choirs - Ellingtonian brass shouts - New Orleans back line figures - R&B horn sections - all come to mind at various points, blending together seamlessly in Chapin’s own unique vision of music, often over a tuba/bass ostinato vamp that is simply overwhelming in its relentlessly swinging pulse.
There are occasional solos by the brass - an excellent trombone solo (unclear whether it's Curtis Fowlkes or Peter McEachern) on Pantheon, fine turns by trumpeters Al Bryant and Frank London on Insomnia, and even a hot tuba solo by the remarkable Marcus Rojas - but it’s the ensemble work that really rocks here.
And it all reaches its peak on the staggering Golgotham, a blues-based groove piece that packs more classic jazz energy and unadulterated hard swing into its 18+ minutes than any 50 other 1990's recordings combined. It includes a classic alto solo - wailing, gutty and passionately explosive. A great soloist, Thomas had that rare ability to play ""inside"" and ""outside"" with total ease and conviction, moving fluidly from one to the other without contrivance or artificiality - AND totally in the context of the music.
For those of us spoiled by the incredible jazz of the 60's, this CD with be a revelation. The music of those years contained an unparalleled mix of virtuosity, innovation, creativity, passion, urgency and swing/pulse that many feel was purely of its time and beyond the reach of a younger generation of musicians. This recording shatters that notion, proving that all of those qualities that have made jazz the magnificent art form it is, are still attainable if embraced by the proper spirit.
And Thomas Chapin had and is that spirit."
Jon Andrews, February 1994
Thomas Chapin may have established himself as a fire-breathing 'downtown' improviser on alto sax and flute, but he first logged years in the more traditional company of Lionel Hampton and Chico Hamilton. I’ve Got Your Number puts Chapin on the inside looking out. You’d expect him to cover Ornette Coleman, not Cy Coleman. Cy’s title track joins compositions from Artie Shaw and Bud Powell and Latin-influenced tunes in this strong, diverse set. Playing in a (relatively) conventional style reinforces Chapin’s strongest influences, notably Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Jackie McLean. Eric Dolphy informs Chapin’s approach to flute, especially on a lovely reading of Powell’s 'Time Waits.' Two originals, 'Drinkin’' and 'Rhino!' allow for Chapin’s most energetic, personalized alto work.
Insomnia focuses on Chapin’s impressive skills as a composer and arranger with his Trio Plus Brass, recorded live at New York’s Knitting Factory. Chapin’s inventive arrangements for octet emphasize low brasses and, on 'Coup d’Etat,' march rhythms. Henry Threadgill’s recent bands exert a clear influence, with Marcus Rojas and Curtis Fowlkes from Very Very Circus joining Chapin. 'Pantheon' and 'Equatoria' set Chapin’s flute over intensifying grooves. 'Golgotham' is the rousing highlight of the set, a driving, 18-minute stomp featuring wailing alto and a chorus of vocalizing horns.