Thomas Chapin

Please support this beautiful documentary and tribute to Thomas Chapin

Thomas was an incredible artist and person, originally from Manchester, CT.

I wasn’t a close friend, but he always remembered me the different times I would see him, always was welcoming, warm, and gracious. That is exactly how I remember him.

Thomas was 9 years older than me, and had also been a student of Jackie McLean’s. Jackie was like another father to me, but much older and from a culture, time and place I had yet to learn much about. I looked up to Thomas in that regard and he was someone close enough in age as to be inspiring in a way only someone that close in age, and also from Connecticut, and also an alto player, could be.

When I went to hear him play in Hartford, he invited me to sit in. I was probably about 17. I was shy and nervous and he made me feel comfortable and brought out the absolute best performance I could have possibly made.

His music was so on the edge, and constantly fresh – I didn’t fully appreciate that when I was younger as I was still at a stage just trying to assimilate familiar things – but now, all these years later I listen to all the many recordings he made and I am doubly inspired all over again – to keep seeking, to keep reaching out, to not stay safe inside the comfortable confines of what is familiar.

He was truly special, unique, gifted – and most of all entirely generous of himself, his spirit and his art.

I don’t think I ever had more than an hour’s worth of conversation with him in sum total – but many, many smiles and knowing looks. We shared similar roots and a love of music and words weren’t entirely necessary.

I wish I had the opportunity to get even closer to him – but his energy lives on quite strongly, and he still has new things to show me everyday.

Leave a Comment