Paul Chasman's musical career has spanned over forty years. He came to Portland, Oregon in 1969, where he played in a number of blues and bluegrass bands, most notably the Heavy Gauge String Band. When Paul was twenty-two, he found himself the single father of a one year old son. This circumstance led Paul to curtail his career playing in bands and to become a full-time private teacher in order to balance a musical career with his devotion to his child. It also developed into a musically fruitful period during which he spent his free time studying jazz and developing his solo guitar style. This culminated in 1979 when he released his first album, Solo Guitar, which Frets Magazine called "...one of the finest examples of fingerpicking you'll ever hear."
At this time, Paul began composing music for the guitar, melding jazz, classical, and folk idioms into his own unique style. He developed a system for harmonics on the guitar, cascading, bell-like tones, which he utilized throughout entire pieces in ways that had never been done before. Guitar Player Magazine called him "one of the most deft harmonics practitioners," and called his harmonics technique "simply astounding." He has written articles on his harmonics technique and other subjects for a number of national publications.
Beginning in 1998, Paul spent a particularly productive decade on the Oregon coast where he composed music for guitar and cello, the outcome being three CDs: Sonatas No. 1 and 2, Songs from the Bay, and I Hope. Acoustic Guitar magazine said, "Chasman's intricate arrangements are...creative ...effective...well conceived and illustrate (his) deft playing skills and harmonic and melodic gifts as well as his ability to develop his compositional ideas in the ensemble format."
Chasman also helped found the Acoustic Guitar Summit featuring Paul, Terry Robb, Mark Hanson, and Doug Smith. During Paul's nine-year association with the Summit, they played for packed auditoriums in Oregon, Washington, and California, were featured several times on NPR, and recorded two highly acclaimed CDs.
In 2010, Paul celebrated 50 years of guitar playing with the release of his CD, "One Man Guitar Festival," in which he played music from all phases of his career, from blues to bluegrass, Bach to Beatles, "real songs" and original compositions, played on two different steel string guitars, a classical, and an 8 string. Minor 7 web magazine called Paul's music "eclectic and inspiring (with a) keen ability and attention to craft...seamlessness and continuity that don't seem possible. Chasman is a fretboard master."
Recently, Paul returned to his old stomping grounds in Portland, Oregon where he recorded his CD, "There's an Elephant in My Room." This release picks up where "Basics"
left off with 14 new Paul Chasman original songs, but this time he has The Awesome Portland Players, 16 of Portland's finest to help him out. Filled with vivid poetry, inspired guitar playing, and biting satire, "Elephant" might be Paul's most ambitious project to date. Look for him soon at a concert hall, environmental benefit, or smokeless bar near you.
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