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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”

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