Never Let Me Go Reviews

Nate Chinen, New York Times

December 2012

The sets in “Never Let Me Go” show off a robust Thomas Chapin.

An alto saxophonist and flutist of rangy intellect and great, gulping conviction, Thomas Chapin was probably on the brink of a breakthrough when leukemia killed him in 1998. He was 40 then, and revered within the downtown scene. But his music felt destined for wider circulation, if you trust the impression left by “Never Let Me Go: Quartets ’95 and ’96” (Playscape). The album, two concerts on three CDs, underscores Mr. Chapin’s connection to jazz custom, even as it ratifies his claim as a vanguardist. In 1995 at Flushing Town Hall he leads a ruggedly articulate working band through tunes by Artie Shaw and Thelonious Monk, as well as by Eddie Arnold and Jimmy Webb. One year later at the Knitting Factory, his home base, he sticks to his own bristling compositions (and one by his touchstone, Rahsaan Roland Kirk) in a jubilant showcase with Scott Colley on bass and Matt Wilson on drums. The pianist in both ensembles is Peter Madsen, whose bond with Mr. Chapin is clear. They should have had much longer to explore it.