Thomas Chapin

Thomas Chapin, alto saxophonist, and flutist, was born in Manchester, Connecticut, in 1957. He studied jazz and classical music at Phillips Academy in Andover. In the late 1970s, he began serious studies at Hartt College, Connecticut. He studied with Jackie MacLean, a saxophonist. He graduated from Rutgers University in 1980, where he studied with pianist Kenny Barron, saxophonist Paul Jeffrey and guitarist Ted Dunbar. He was the lead saxophonist, and the musical director of the band from 1981 to 1986. From 1988 to 1989, he also performed with Chico Hamilton’s band. He formed his own bands in the 1980s, including a trio with Mario Pavone, drummer Steve Johns, and then, Michael Sarin. Chapin worked with the Thomas Chapin Trio at festivals around the globe and also organized larger groups. He spent much of his time with jazz’s most important players. Ray Drummond, Anthony Braxton and Sonny Sharrock were among his many performances. He recorded fifteen albums over his career, including Sky Piece, Night Bird Song, which were his last two releases. Thomas Chapin, forty years old, died from leukemia in 1998. The New York Times called him “one of the more exuberant saxophonists and bandleaders in jazz” and “one of the few musicians to exist in both the worlds of the downtown, experimentalist scene and mainstream jazz.”

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