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Jen Chapin & Rosetta Trio - Light of Mine

Light of Mine

Jen Chapin & Rosetta Trio

PCM 1129

Available from Jen Chapin's web site.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

Jen Chapin's had it up to here with all the socio-governential crap going down and decided to select nine of her favorite compositions by others (along with two of her own) to re-instill the American virtue of dissent away from dismal conservative drum-chants of death and fear. Thus, we get a wide-ranging selection, from Radiohead's Backdrift to John Lennon's Nobody Told Me to a radically interpreted version of Springsteen's Born in the USA as antidote to Republican lunacy.

That makes the second superb re-cover this month for that last composition, the first occurring in Richard Shindell's South of Delia (reviewed here). A spare-but-on-it Rosetta Trio makes the perfect foil, here stripping down to only a stand-up bass and the briefest of percussives, escorting her jazzy vocals to the front of the platform, where Chapin bops the lines straight from a beatnik coffee house. Another very good choice was Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic", where the singer captures the Irish-American composer's passion well.

Stephen Crump, whose Rosetta was reviewed here, is the bassist while the guitar players, Jamie Fox and Liberty Ellman, are the cats who turned in such a cool performance on the same CD. Yep, this is that trio, now playing coloration to Chapin, and I frankly couldn't be happier. These guys possess the verve of old West Coast Cool days cut with abstraction and smoky dive ambience updated to alt rock, making the perfect frame.

Chapin establishes a groove and works with it, but the transition in Born in the USA and a couple others is startling, demonstrating how she can stretch perimeters well beyond expectation. A DVD accompanies the CD, stuffed with live cuts and a video, over an hour's worth of songs on and not on the CD, concentrating more on her own work. The live stuff is great, a marvelous resonant for the studio versions, but, surprisingly, as I'm usually not all that nuts about videos, the vid of her own Little Man is very affective, extremely sensitive, and quite quite graceful.

Track List:

  • Backdrift (Radiohead)
  • American Skin (41 Shots) (Bruce Springsteen)
  • Starman (David Bowie)
  • Insatiable (Jen Chapin)
  • Into the Mystic (Van Morrison)
  • Everybody is a Star (Sly Stone)
  • Born in the USA (Bruce Springsteen)
  • Sunny Sunday (Joni Mitchell)
  • Nobody Told Me (John Lennon)
  • You Haven't Done Nothin' (Stevie Wonder)
  • Lullabye (Jen Chapin)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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