Alfred News

Alfred Music Publishing Mourns the Loss of Drumming Great Jim Chapin

LOS ANGELES, CA  -  Thursday, July 23, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA- July 23, 2009

Alfred is saddened by the loss of legendary jazz drummer, educator, and author Jim Chapin. He died on July 4, 2009 in Florida, just a few weeks before his 90th birthday. The following is an excerpt from his obituary, written by Rob Birenbaum, Jim Chapin's longtime friend and producer of his two CDs, Songs-Solos-Storiesand More Songs-Solos-Stories.

"Jim did not begin playing drums until he was 18 years old, after being inspired by legendary drummer Gene Krupa. He studied with the renowned rudimentalist, Sanford Moeller, and within two years was playing opposite Krupa at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York! In 1948, Jim published Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer, Volume I, (Coordinated Independence as Applied to Jazz and Be-Bop). And, in 1971, Mr. Chapin published Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer, Volume II (Independence–The Open End), a monumental undertaking that utilizes overlays to illustrate its complex points. Many of the great drummers of our time have relied on the teachings of Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer Some of Mr. Chapin’s techniques were captured on an instructional video first released in 1992 called Speed, Power, Control, Endurance, which is now available on DVD.

In 1994, Mr. Chapin received two honors for his contributions to music and education: the American Eagle Award, presented by the National Music Council in Washington D.C. and a lifetime achievement award from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. And, in 1995, he was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame.

It was Mr. Chapin’s mission to get as many drummers as possible to utilize "The Moeller Method" to get the maximum results from a minimum of effort, thus avoiding fatigue and injuries. During the past 25 years, Mr. Chapin found a second career, as he was discovered by a new generation of musicians that hungered for his depth of knowledge on drummers and drumming. He spent his time traveling around the world teaching and presenting seminars, and was a fixture at music trade shows and percussion conventions. He was a Pied Piper of drumming and all Mr. Chapin had to do was sit down at his battered and always handy practice pad anywhere in the world and a crowd of drummers would gather to soak in as much of what long-time student, friend and confidant Dom Famularo aptly dubbed as “The Chapin Magic.”

Through times of “here today-gone tomorrow” artists, Mr. Chapin was always there. During the past 70 years, he observed, studied and analyzed every great (and not so great) drummer. He was there almost from the beginning of modern drumset playing and that is something we will never see again. Mr. Chapin was a master student in addition to being a master teacher and he epitomized the most important quality necessary for longevity in the music business: he would not grow old!"

- Rob Birenbaum