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John Tchicai

Primary Instrument: Saxophone

Born: April 28, 1936 | Died: October 8, 2012    

John Tchicai

By approaching jazz from a wide scope, Afro-Danish-American John Tchicai has been continuously progressive throughout his life. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1936, of a Danish mother and a Congolese father and growing up in healthy surroundings, John Martin Tchicai became a leading exponent of the jazz avant-garde in New York in the '60s and a father-figure for the European avant-garde after that. Now based in Davis, California, and Claira, France, by a single-mindedness of purpose and action, his work still reflects what he's always been doing, which is innovate and inspire other people, in a most refreshing way. The Danish ministry of Culture recognized his work by awarding him a lifetime grant....
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... I heard a group in Denmark last year, John Tchicai and the trombone player Roswell Rudd, and sometimes it happened and sometimes it didn't. But when it happened, it was marvelous. They started out with something, and it happened to be a good melodic idea, rythmic idea, and they would elaborate on that, and after a while, they would get into things that sounded like, I guess... complete freedom but still related to an essential idea. John is one of the most mature players in this kind of music.” —Booker Ervin in Downbeat, regarding the 3-28-'65 version of “Holy Ghost”

”... big bones, amber tones and gentle moves...” —Fred Bouchard, Jazz Times

”... moved to New York in the mid-sixties and left a lasting impression...” Keith Shadwick, The illustrated story of Jazz

”... sax's great Dane, whose decidedly Cool, archly lyrical and ultimately enigmatic playing suggests the secretive smile of someone who knows something strange but good...” —Richard C.Walls, The Boston Phoenix

”... a veteran woodwind adventurer into musical outer space; his music exudes freedom...” Philip Elwood, San Francisco Examiner

”... his sound is cool, weightless, his style built on graceful, logical lines, and his writing can just as soon invoke Monk's angular logic and the blues as an African melody or rhythm..” —Fernando Gonzalez, The Boston Globe

”... he hasn't spent the past 30 years playing standards... The piping warmth is so consistently present and his Berlin Ballad is heartbreakingly lyrical...” —Reuben Jackson, Washington City Paper

”... he sounds like a man who feels so deeply about an issue that he quietly and doggedly puts his own point of view until those vociferous disputants with more superficial beliefs move on... he sounds like a highly individual, architectural improviser who submerges himself into the group with self-effacement... will someone please bring John Tchicai to Britain for a tour?” —Barry Witherden, WIRE

”... belongs to the finest composers in contemporary jazz. His themes are melodically rich, rhythmically inventive note the frequent changes of meter and tempo and they shun the formal or harmonic clichŽs that even today's jazz writers seem to find so hard to avoid.... He's an improviser of astounding versatility, equally well versed in tackling standard song structures as in free improvisation, in group playing as in the art of the solo... The most intriguing and personal quality of John's playing on whatever instrument is his incredible ability to shape and vary the sound of his horn, ranging from minute timbre variations via tender ballad lushness to powerful dramatic gestures...” —Peter N. Wilson, liner notes for “Timo's Message”

”.. loping, soul-tinged jazz..” —Marc Weidenbaum, Sacramento News & Review

”... Tchicai offers a large and diverse program, often within a single piece - his turns reveal the floating deliberation and melancholy passion that have always marked his unique concept...” —Bob Blumenthal, The Boston Globe

”...a forceful presence: his deep, inquisitive tone sounds wonderful, stately and reserved, while his mates swirl madly around him.... Tchicai is flying high and cool over the rhythm section's prancing and tumbling capers...” —Jerome Wilson, Cadence

”... silver-tongued ferocity, a stunning ability to express himself and a compelling sense of drama and dynamics... many people who find progressive music difficult and hard to appreciate would have delighted in this..” —Gamall Awad, California Jazz Now

  • Tribal Ghost

    NoBusiness Records
    2014
    BUY
  • Tribal Ghost

    NoBusiness Records
    2013
    BUY
  • West Africa Tour (Sierra Leone, Liberia & Guinea), April 1985

    Challenge Jazz
    2012
    BUY
  • In Monk's Mood

    Challenge Jazz
    2009
    BUY
  • Schlachtfest Session II

    Klangbad
    2008
    BUY
  • Coltrane In Spring

    Challenge Jazz
    2008
    BUY
  • Afrodisiaca

    Promising Music/MPS
    2008
    BUY
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Rank: 1,104 Views: 11,181 Fans: 3
Featured recording “Tribal Ghost”

Tribal Ghost
NoBusiness Records (2014)

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