Musical Biography

Paul Chasman: A One-Man Guitar Festival

“Spellbinding...imaginative...sensitive... A fine example of a guitarist’s devotion to the full exploration of his instrument’s capabilities.”
        --Guitar Player Magazine

    Paul Chasman’s musical career has spanned nearly 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 “ 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 practicioners,” 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 CD’s: 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 CD’s.

     Paul put his guitars away for a few years during the Bush presidency, devoting his energies to satirical political writing.  He developed a website: on which he posted “Letters of Advice and Constructive Criticism to the Famous, the Infamous, and the Current Administration” under the pseudonym of Carl Estrada.  For years, The Carl Letters has boasted a number one Google rating under the search words: “Anti-Bush Political Humor.”  Paul also wrote a novel, “The Book of Bob,” which reportedly had many readers laughing out loud and was described by one critic as “laughing magic.”

     Since Paul and his wife moved to the Olympic Peninsula in 2007, he has picked up his guitars again and performed as onstage guitarist in the Port Angeles Community Players production of “Man of La Mancha,” was musical director of PACP’s production of  “Celebration,” and played solo guitar concerts at the Juan de Fuca Festival.  He is currently composing music for eight-string guitar and plans to record a CD of the results next year.

     A Paul Chasman concert is a celebration of penetrating musicality, technical mastery, and high humor.  He explores influences in jazz, classical, blues, bluegrass, ragtime, and rock, along with a sampling of his own compositions which draw from all his musical and life experiences.  Paul typically plays four guitars in performance, each one facilitating a different aspect of his broad range.  A Paul Chasman concert is truly A One-Man Guitar Festival.

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