Thomas Chapin

Alive

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Alive is a posthumous compilation featuring Thomas Chapin's entire catalog on Knitting Factory Records -- Anima, Third Force, Menagerie Dreams, Insomnia, Haywire, Sky Piece, and Night Bird Song, plus a previously unreleased live recording from UC-Davis in 1992. That's eight discs in all, and at 50 bucks it's practically a giveaway -- affordable enough for the casual fan, comprehensive enough for the full-on Chapin devotee. The bonus disc is pretty lo-fi, with choppy segues between tracks, but still every bit worth hearing. It also comes with an enhanced video clip of Chapin, bassist Mario Pavone, and drummer Michael Sarin performing "Night Bird Song" at the 1995 Newport Jazz Festival. To see Chapin alive and playing his heart out under a sunny sky is no small pleasure. This box allows listeners to experience Chapin's talent from many angles, and it also telescopes the evolution of his great trio -- the change of drummers from Steve Johns to Michael Sarin, then the steady musical growth of that core lineup over the course of six albums. The 31-page booklet, with an exhaustive Bob Blumenthal essay and ten beautiful photographs, provides an intimate portrait of Chapin's life and artistry.

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