This CD is a tribute to the late reedperson/composer Thomas Chapin, who passed away in February 1998. Pavone was his bassist, playing on nearly all of Chapin's albums (the best, in this humble scribe's view, is Insomnia, on Knitting Factory Records). Rather than a dark & grieving memorial, this album is instead a celebration of the joy within Chapin's music & music in general. There's four T.C. tunes, a Monk cover ("Raise 4"), an Annette Peacock tune (the spare & mysterious "Miracles"), and the rest are Pavone originals, and there's not a clinker or a "so-so" track in the bunch. No one individual track stands out above the others - instead, the tracks, though the tunes are sharp & distinctive, gracefully flow into each other.
The music is happy without being cloying, and fiercely, unashamedly, harmoniously tuneful. Madsen is a superb pianist, evoking (but never merely copying) every genially lyrical pianist you can think of, from Errol Garner to Randy Weston to Dave Brubeck to Vince Guaraldi. Wilson (a fine bandleader/composer himself) is everything a jazz drummer should be. This is not a "piano trio" where you get "let's play the head, I solo, then you solo, etc." Remembering Thomas is up there with the best trio work of Herbie Nichols, Kenny Barron, Myra Melford & Bill Evans. Hefty praise? Hyperbole? YOU be the judge. This is one of THE jazz CDs of 1999, yes it is.