JEN CHAPIN AND STEPHAN CRUMP: Open WideLOOK FOR JEN'S NEW RELEASE FROM HYBRID RECORDINGS, "LINGER," IN STORES ON FEBRUARY 24, 2004.
"Chapin is a first-rate storyteller... Open Wide is enormously potent." - JazzTimes
"Different. Brilliantly different. It's just an acoustic bass and Jen's vocals. The mere idea of it is wonderful, but they do it so well, you don't even notice that it's only a vocal and a bass until a few tracks into it. Then, you're just standing there with your jaw hanging open in amazement." - TheCelebrityCafe.com
Jen Chapin and Stephan Crump make their recording debut as a duo with the Spring 2002 release of Open Wide by Purple Chair Music.
A unit that found its origins in a poorly attended soundcheck in the late winter of 1998 (and was marked along the way by a wedding) has since blossomed into a unique and intimate partnership of voice and acoustic bass, now captured on CD.
Recorded in NYC during the fall of 2001, Open Wide unclothes the jazz and folk tinged soulfulness of Jen's songs in a sexy yet substantive interplay of the two instruments.
Relentless funk, crossroads mysticism, swinging whimsicality and haunting lyricism are just a few of the moods Stephan conjures in his work here, turning the "limitations" of his instrument's four strings upside-down.
Meanwhile, Jen illuminates her thoughtful lyrics with shimmering tone, captivating phrasing and passionate clarity.
Jen Chapin's songs reflect a diversity of experience in life and in music. She has been a student of international relations in Mexico and Zimbabwe and a teacher of high school music in Brooklyn. She has performed at folk festivals in New England and on jazz-funk records in Switzerland. In the fall of 2001, in between doing recording sessions for Open Wide and teaching workshops on "Music and Social Action," Jen was invited to participate in Nile Rodgers' benefit remake of the dance classic "We are Family." All of these moments cohere in her intelligent, soulful, and beautifully crafted music.
Jen's earthy sound has been called "urban folk" -- an acknowledgement of both her family's fertile folk-rock legacy, and of her own background studying jazz and funk at Berklee College of Music. She writes songs of searching for both solitude and community; of the city; of love and loss.
Jen has been a supporting act for Aimee Mann and Bruce Hornsby. Her song "Simple Things (On the Other Side)" is featured in Simple Focus Films' Fresh Cut Grass, which recently premiered at the Hamptons Film Festival. In August 2000, Jen was chosen as the winner of an emerging artist search by Oxygen Media, which earned her a demo deal with V2 Records. More recently she was honored by The USA Songwriting Competition for her song "Indispensable" with First Prize in the lyrics category and with the Third Prize Overall among over 30,000 entries. Jen's talents as a singer and actress have also been featured in the elite ensemble The Weimarband, whose innovative musical theater piece "The Blue Flower" has played to sold-out audiences in NYC.
Beyond her life in music, Jen's dedication to the non-profit organization WHY (World Hunger Year - www.worldhungeryear.org) recently earned her election as the Chair of its Board of Directors. Jen is especially committed to WHY's "Artists Against Hunger and Poverty" program, which works to forge relationships between musicians and WHY's network of innovative grassroots groups fighting hunger and poverty across the country. She also serves on the board of Secret Smiles, Inc.(www.secretsmiles.org), and on the advisory board of "KIDS Can Make a Difference" (www.kidscanmakeadifference.org).
Born to a French mother and American father, Stephan Crump's study of the bass has been steeped in both European classical traditions and the classic blues and soul of his native Memphis, Tennessee.
Stephan brings to his playing with Jen the limber intensity that shines through his own original compositions and through his work as a sideman with elite ensembles like Greg Bendian's Mahavishnu Project and the Vijay Iyer Quartet.
(Stephan's recent recording with Iyer, Panoptic Modes, was recognized as one of the best jazz records of 2001 by The Village Voice, The LA Times, Jazz Times, and The New Yorker.) Stephan's own 2001 release on Accurate Records, Tuckahoe (available here at cdbaby), has been receiving enthusiastic reviews and heavy rotation on college radio.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Hurry Up Sky
2. Open Wide
6. Don't Miss You
7. Passive People
8. I'll Take You with Me
10. Slow Tide