Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop
Listen to Samples
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 11/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps the best album Thomas Chapin recorded during his career, "Menagerie Dreams" finds Thomas Chapin stretching his wings and really producing some fantastic music. Heard on a number of reeds (alto, baritone, and mezzo-soprano saxes and flute) and accompanied by his then-working trio (Mario Pavone on bass and Michael Sarin on drums), Chapin took this rare excursion into the studio (most of his records are live) as a really exploratory opportunity-- he covers more ground than he ever had previously and remarkably, manages to do a great job of all of it. Along the way, downtown luminary John Zorn shows up to blow alto on a pair of tracks with the trio.
From the opening, you know something's up-- "Bad Birdie" begins with a Zorn/Chapin duet, two frantic altos raging away seemingly uncontrollably until it settles into a mid-tempo groove. Chapin takes the first solo, frantic, exciting, full of ideas and exploring his upper register (inspired by Zorn?), quoting "Salt Peanuts" along the way and then dropping off to let Zorn solo. Zorn pulls out all the stops, utilizing his extended technique and while Chapin manages to be more exporatory, Zorn is a bit more exciting. After a brief drum solo, the two horns duet over a pedal point bass. Ten minutes on, it ends, and by this point, you're either convinced or you're horrified.
Suffice to say I was convinced.
The rest of the album proves remarkably diverse-- Chapin shows mastery on a number of instruments, from delicate and lovely (and sometimes agressive) flute lines of the title track to forceful and surprisingly agile baritone sax performances ("Foxwoods Stomp"), frantic extended alto technique ("Day Dream") and dark, minimalist explorations ("A Drunken Monkey"). Along the way we get a superb live bass feature ("Raise Four") and a bizarre spoken-word with Zorn piece ("Put Your Quarter In And Watch the Chicken Dance") that quite defies description.
It's not for everyone, but for those curious about Chapin's all too brief career, this is a great place to begin looking. Highly recommended."