By Matt Micucci
Filmmaker Stephanie J. Castillo will be presenting an advance screening of her documentary film Thomas Chapin, Night Bird Song on March 6 at the Real Arts Way in Hartford, Connecticut. This will be the first public screening of the film.
“Thomas Chapin was my brother-in-law, and I knew he played music, but I had no idea that he was somebody in jazz until I read his obituary in the New York Times,” said Emmy-nonimated director Castillo. “I wanted to invite those who have never heard of Thomas Chapin to take the time to discover his genius, which came out through his music. I also wanted them to discover, as I had in making this film, the depth of talent, dedication and passion this man had about life and music. And so in 2012, I set out to tell his story and to truly honor him, his music and his life, and to ensure his legacy.”
Thomas Chapin, Night Bird Song tells the story of the life of the composer and multi-instrumentalist, as well as the indelible mark he made on fans, peers and the jazz world at large.
The documentary is composed of her more than 40 on-camera interviews conducted with world renowned figures in the world of jazz. Among them are jazz broadcaster Alex Dutilh of Radio France Musique, Paul H. Jeffrey, the late Professor Emeritus who mentored Thomas while teaching at both Hartt School of Music and Rutgers Livingston College and fellow musicians such as Peter McEachern, Bob Musso, Arthur Kell, Saul Rubin.
The interviews, which form the structural narrative backbone of the film, are interwoven with a series of Chapin performance concerts taken from archive footage and audio recordings, which came from the Thomas Chapin’s Archives at Duke University in North Carolina where they are currently stored.
The March 6 advance screening will occur just three days before Thomas Chapin’s birthday; the composer would have been 59 on March 9. Ticket holders will then be treated to a special concert by the Thomas Chapin Brass Music, conducted by Dave Ballow, with which they will be offered the opportunity to experience Chapin’s music live. The will also feature Mario Pavone and Michael Sarin, who were part of the original Thomas Chapin Trio.