my name is rob chaseman and i am a saxophonist and am also diagnosed with bipolar disorder (formerly manic-depression). i grew up in new jersey and moved to north carolina to attend college. i attended college at the university of north carolina at chapel hill studying psychology and music. my 3 released cds correlate with a book im releasing which is an autobiography/self-help book for those with a mental illness or for anyone who is interested. each tune on the cds are chapters in the book and reflect my life experience with bipolar disorder.
my 3 cds:
the cd 'cloud' is my first solo effort. it is a bass and sax duo cd featuring myself on tenor, alto, soprano and bari saxes along with long-time friend and talented acoustic bass player matt brandau. 'cloud' is a collection of improvisations with a groove-oriented feel.
each song has its own expression of thought and also displays different moods. matt and i basically pressed the record button and let the music happen. the music has an airy flow and open feel.
my sophomore cd 'helicopter' is based on the many cycles that exist in humanity and in nature. it is one 45 minute piece that was influenced by my own experience with introspection and the cycles of thought, mood, perception and behavior that accompany it. the cd is a journey through the mind of one person's experience through a cycle. the path starts with a mood of ambiguity and simplicity and slowly moves on to a period of more action and purpose. from this place it builds into a catharsis of confusion and dissonance. it continues falling on solid ground displaying a new sense of clarity and sensibility. it can also be interpreted as my experience from one hospitalization to another.
i recorded 'helicopter' in chapel hill nc with long time friends stephen levitin on drums (the apple juice kid), matt brandau on electric bass, and mark wells on rhodes. this quartet used to play together regularly so the group has a comfortable relaxed feel. that feel lent itself to create a piece that became cohesive, full of emotion and extremely creative. it was just four players improvising within the concept of one extended song. the end result was an interesting, moody, flowing musical experience.
my third cd 'orange' are all my own compositions played and recorded live at a club in new jersey. it's like smooth jazz meets rock and roll. i tried to compose songs that were head-bobbing and left room for improv at the same time. the compositions fuse the complexity of jazz chords with the dirty feel of funk grooves. i was fortunate enough to get a recording of this night thanks to al weber. the group is rob chaseman and subtone and consists of myself on tenor sax, long time friend and super bass player doug largent, the extremely creative artist dave fields on guitar and another talented carolinian, kenny soule on drums. i think each tune on this album has is an expression of spontaneity and has both dark and joyous moments.
who ive played with:
i have also recorded on the apple juice kid's hip-hop cd 'Plus', on andrew dyker's pop cd 'Shine', on beth wood's folk cd 'Late Night Radio', on new yorks blues hall of famer nikki armstrong's r&b cd 'Turnin and Burnin', on gina sicilia's cd 'Allow Me To Confess', and on dave gross' cd 'Crawlin The Walls'. i have also done horn sections and other work on dave fields two cds 'Times A Wastin' and 'All Wound Up'. besides having done many gigs with new york's blues hall of famer chaz depaolo he has featured me on his albums 'Flirtin with the Blues' and 'Bluestopia'. i was also fortunate enough to be the sax player on rueben wilson's cd 'Movin On'.
as a producer and recording engineer i have worked with many different artists and musicians in my studio. i was a producer and bass and saxophone player on one of camp lo's hip hop tracks 'Regulate', and many other projects that are floating around somewhere.
i have performed in a variety of settings including folk duos, symphonic bands, jazz big bands, blues bands, and rock and funk groups.
i was lucky enough to have played with such great musicians and nice folks such as Melvin Sparks, Reuben Wilson, Grant Green Jr., Cornell Depree, Hubert Sumlin, Mike Clark, Jimmy McGriff and others.
who im playing with:
lately ive been producing, recording, and playing with nikki armstrong and a whole lotta blues, chaz depaolo and with jason green and the labor of love.
meanwhile here are some quotes:
"Rob is one of the most soulful, musical, forward thinking musicians that I have come across, and I think he is the future of jazz/soul/funk/electronic music. The productions we are making for the hip hop and pop world is mashing genres in an authentic unique way, making people dance, and heads nod." ~ Apple Juice Kid (Mar 09,2009)
DJ Z's Top Rated Songs: " Big Camp Lo fan myself - I am bias - so this was a real nice treat on the ears. A large part of that enjoyment is due to the excellent work behind the boards by AJK and Mr. Chaseman. Honestly, its different; these days, that works in my book. " - DJ Z, DJBOOTH.NET (Mar 09, 2009)
"Apple Juice Kid and Rob Chaseman serve up a head-bobbing funk instrumental" - Urban Fiction (Mar 09, 2009)
"The music is reminiscent of the late '60s with catchy grooves, long vamps and some heated solos from Wilson, saxophonist Robert Chaseman and guitarist Grant Green Jr. " - Scott Yarrow, All Music Guide, Alibris (Feb 02, 2009)
"The 50s’ style “Baby Come Back” has some honking baritone saxophone from Rob Chaseman" - GRAHAME RHODES, Blues In The Northwest.com (Mar 06, 2009)
"Chaseman's B-flat axe has a tone as crispy as a fresh batch of hog cracklins (fried pork rinds)" - Larry Hollis, Cadence Magazine
"The horns by Rob Chaseman.. are outstanding additions to the music." - Steve Jones, Crossroads Blues Society Music and Video Reviews
"Musically, Bluestopia leavens the blues with East Coast rock and jazz influences, with jazz mixed with blues amply demonstrated by saxophonist Robert Chaseman, who infuses blues/R&B sax with the atonalities and virtuoso techniques of modern jazz. He is a most able second soloist who is an adept accompanist as well, and his brass reed instrumentalism is featured on eight of the nine tracks here. - July 26, 2009 “Blues and More” column for the Bloomington (IN) Alternative.
after moving to new jersey i began my dream of doing music and psychology at the same time... but i didnt want to be a music therapist (for some reason i had to keep them separate.) i got a job in research at the new york state psychiatric institute and was playing on the weekends.
after working in research i started work as a case manager in an outpatient program for adults with mental illnesses. i applied as a consumer because i thought that who would know better what these clients were going through than someone who went through it themselves, plus i had once been in an outpatient center when i was recovering from one my hospitalizations so i knew what it was like from the inside.
i worked there full time for three years while playing gigs at night. i learned a lot from working with the clients and the staff. it was a wonderful experience and gave me the push i needed to resume a healthy life and strive for more. the fact that i had experienced so much with my own illness also helped me be a better counselor.
now i am married to a wonderful woman and we have two dogs and two cats. im going to graduate school to become an lpc (licensed professional counselor) to continue to work with persons with mental illness and im going to start lecturing at a local college on mental illness and music. my book is going to be released (it will have caps) after my 3 cds. the book is an autobiography/self-help book for those with mental illness or anyone who wants to learn about it.
i have basically stared into the abyss and been to the top of the mountain. i have had to decipher if the thoughts im having are normal or symptomatic. ive had to monitor my emotions and mood to determine what is healthy. ive been on so many meds to find the right fit and have had serious side-effects along the way. now i m where i need to be both psychologically and musically.