Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jim Chapin, 1919-2009. R.I.P.

I just learned that Jim Chapin died on the Fourth of July. He was only a few weeks shy of his 90th birthday.

He was the father of Harry Chapin (one of my favorite musicians as noted on my Wikipedia page) and nine other children. The elder Chapin was a musician in his own right. He was a drummer of great renown in the big band era and was a contemporary of legendary drummers such as Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. He wrote two books on jazz drumming which are utilized by jazz drummers to this day.

If you click on the link that begins this post you'll see the remarkable resemblance between father and son. If Harry Chapin had lived to 90 that is probably what he would have looked like. Tom Chapin, one of his other sons and also a musician, had said his father had been ill in recent years and did not look so well. But he noted that things changed when you put him behind a drum kit. “We got him behind the drums, and he shed 30 years.” If Harry were still amongst us I am sure he would say his father died "good tired."

Yet it is peculiar that I should learn of Jim Chapin's passing today. It was on July 16, 1981 (28 years ago today) that Harry Chapin lost his life in an automobile accident.

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