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reVisions

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Album Review

Jen Chapin, the daughter of the late folksinger Harry Chapin, has performed many styles of music and is not one to be easily classified. She is not the first artist to explore the music of Stevie Wonder in a jazz setting, nor is she the first vocalist to do so. But her stripped-down settings utilizing her husband Stephan Crump on bass and saxophonist Chris Cheek are striking, because they omit keyboards entirely and effectively blend pop, soul, and jazz into music that should be accessible to a wide variety of listeners. Chapin also skips over the Wonder compositions favored by jazz artists, opening with the funky “You Haven't Done Nothin'," in which Crump adds some percussion by tapping the body of his bass while Cheek's sonorous baritone provides a perfect foil for the leader's hip vocals. The sparse instrumental backing also works beautifully in her treatment of the reggae piece “Master Blaster (Jammin')." Chapin saunters over the infectious bassline of “Village Ghetto Land," with Cheek's playful soprano dancing around her delicious vocal, while she captures the sassy attitude of “Big Brother" perfectly. Jen Chapin's spirit of adventure is to be applauded in an age when too many singers either restrict themselves to safe standards or songbooks of all too frequently recorded works.

Biography

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

Singer/songwriter Jen Chapin is the daughter of the late folk-rock artist Harry Chapin, who is best-known for his 1974 smash "Cats in the Cradle." Jen Chapin's work is quite different from her father's; while he was primarily a folk-rocker, she is much more difficult to categorize. Folk-rock has influenced her, but jazz, soul, funk, pop, and blues have also had a major impact on the New Yorker (who has stated that her taste in music ranges from Joni Mitchell and Steely Dan to Cassandra Wilson, Led...
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reVisions, Jen Chapin
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