One of the late Thomas Chapin's finest all-round recordings, this set starts out in somewhat startling fashion with screaming by Chapin and John Zorn on altos before settling down into a relatively straight-ahead jam. Zorn is on two selections (including one that includes poetry from Vernon Frazer) but otherwise this is a trio outing, showcasing Chapin on flute, baritone, soprano, and particularly alto while joined by bassist Mario Pavone and drummer Michael Sarin. While there are adventurous and free sections, Chapin also has the opportunity to play the blues (on Thelonious Monk's "Raise Four"), completely rework Duke Ellington's "Daydream" (which is given a Western motif by bassist Pavone), show off the influence of Eric Dolphy, and introduce such intriguing originals as "A Drunken Monkey" and "The Night Hog."
The Hungarian pianist has won a number of piano competitions in Hungary and abroad, including first prize in the 1973 Hungarian Piano Concours and first prize in the chamber music category at the Sydney International Piano Competition in 1977. He has recorded for Naxos all the piano concertos and sonatas of Mozart.
The variety and boldness of invention found in Haydn’s piano sonatas are rewarded by Jeno Jandó’s “no-nonsense, down-to-earth vivacity” (BBC Music Magazine) in this boxed set.
Verities & Balderdash is a very strange and wonderful album. “Cat’s in the Cradle” was the driving force behind the album’s sales, but there’s a lot more to appeal to listeners, along with enough personal, topical material to make it seem a bit didactic at the time, but Chapin was cultivating a politically committed audience. Verities & Balderdash walked several fine lines, between topical songwriting and an almost (but not quite) pretentious sense of its own importance, humor and seriousness, and balladry and punditry, all intermingled with catchy, highly commercial ballads such as “I Wanna Learn a Love Song” (which is about as pretty a song as he ever wrote).