Firehouse 12  45 Crown Street  New Haven, CT 06510  203.785.0468

Chris Lightcap


Performer's Website

Bassist and composer Chris Lightcap has collaborated with Marc Ribot, Regina Carter, Craig Taborn, Mark Turner, Joe Morris, Sheila Jordan, James Carter, Butch Morris, Ben Monder and Tom Harrell. Since 1998 he has also led his own groups and produced two critically acclaimed albums of original music.

Born and raised in the great beer and steel town of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Chris Lightcap started out on the piano at age eight, switched to violin at nine and began to teach himself the electric bass at fourteen. He simultaneously played violin in a local youth symphony and took gigs on bass guitar with local rock bands as well as his school's jazz and concert bands. Lightcap enrolled at Williams College in the fall of 1989. During this period he studied with jazz bassist Cameron Brown, composers Robert Suderburg, David Kechley and Alvin Lucier, trumpeter Bill Dixon, and the late master bassist Milt Hinton. While attending Wesleyan University for a semester he also had the privilege of studying and performing with master drummer Edward Blackwell shortly before his death in 1992. Upon graduating from Williams with the school's Hutchinson arts grant he moved to his current home, New York City.

Once in New York, Lightcap began to work within the city's fertile jazz and contemporary music scenes, eventually establishing himself as an in-demand freelance bassist. He also met many musicians who would become longtime creative collaborators. Meanwhile he continued his writing, contributing music to various cooperative bands and side projects. In 1998 he assembled his own group, featuring Gerald Cleaver on drums and Tony Malaby and Bill McHenry on tenor saxophones. Lightcap's debut as a leader, "Lay-Up", was released in 2000 on Fresh Sound Records and dubbed "one of the year's winners" by the New York Times. It also sat on the CMJ jazz chart for over a month, eventually reaching the #7 slot. In a New York Times review of one of his quartet's performances, Ben Ratliff wrote: "Mr. Lightcap is one of the few musicians working these days who has the breadth and inclination to divide his working life between what's called avant jazz and the mainstream."

Lightcap's quartet released its follow-up on Fresh Sound, "Bigmouth" in early 2003. This latest CD also reached CMJ's top ten and was awarded the highest rating of "Choc" (Shock) by the top Jazz magazine of France, Jazzman. Bigmouth has also enjoyed wide acclaim in such publications as Jazztimes, Cadence, the Village Voice, All About Jazz and Double Bassist.

Lightcap is currently touring and playing around NYC with his new group, featuring Malaby and Mark Turner on tenor saxophones, Craig Taborn on keyboards and Gerald Cleaver on drums. The band will record Lightcap's next CD in 2006.

As a sideman Lightcap enjoys work with a wide array of material and musicians, having toured and played major festivals with such bandleaders as Mark Turner, Ravi Coltrane, Joe Morris, Matt Wilson, Terrel Stafford, and Rob Brown. He performed weekly with the Cecil Taylor Big Band in 1995 and was invited to perform in a trio with Archie Shepp and Sunny Murray in Paris the following year. For the next two years he worked regularly throughout New York City in a trio led by saxophonist George Garzone. In 2000 Chris joined the ensemble of Verve recording artist Regina Carter. He subsequently performed and recorded extensively with Carter for five years, touring throughout four continents and being featured alongside the rest of her quintet with the Boston, Atlanta and Minnesota Symphonies.

Since 1996 he has played on two dozen releases, including Craig Taborn's "Light Made Lighter" (Thirsty Ear), Regina Carter's "Pagannini: After a Dream" (Verve/Universal) Whit Dickey's "Transonic" (Aum Fidelity), Rob Brown's "Jumping Off the Page" (No More), and Joe Morris' "Underthru" (Omnitone), "A Cloud of Blackbirds"(Aum Fidelity), and "At the Old Office"(Knitting Factory Works). He has also recorded with Tom Harrell, Marc Ribot, Anthony Coleman, Steven Bernstein, Roy Campbell, and Mat Maneri.

Firehouse 12 Performances

Chris Lightcap & Bigmouth Friday, April 22, 2016, 10:00p
Rob Brown Quartet Friday, May 13, 2011, 10:00p
Matt Wilson Quartet Friday, September 25, 2009, 10:00p
James Carney Group Friday, May 15, 2009, 10:00p
Josh Roseman's Execution Quintet Friday, October 17, 2008, 10:00p
Shakers n' Bakers Friday, October 10, 2008, 10:00p
Gerald Cleaver and Violet Hour Friday, December 15, 2006, 10:00p
Chris Lightcap Quintet Thursday, April 20, 2006, 10:00p
Chris Lightcap Quintet Saturday, June 11, 2005, 8:00p

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