Thursday, April 28, 2022

Tchicai's the Limit

The last day of April is allegedly "International Jazz Day," so let's start the party early with the first of two straight birthday celebrations.

First up is the 86th birthday of this guy, who's been gone a minute but no one who knows has forgotten.

Most people probably know him, if they do, from Coltrane's pivotal Ascension recording, but he's got a whole universe of his own in the music beyond that touchstone of the Free thing.

I guess, like his frequent collaborator Don Cherry, John Tchicai was a kind of World Music before there was such a label. Not that I like or value that term, but that's one way to describe what he did.

There's way more to it, of course. Really he's one of the most unique sax voices ever, and a lot of his output is unclassifiably eclectic in its scope.

One of, if not the most, beloved Jazzers to come from Denmark, he blazed quite a trail up to his passing in 2012. Maybe only bass legend Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen rivals him among Danes.

This 53 minutes of fun is one of the few recordings of him from the early 1970s, when he took a sort of sabbatical from playing to teach.

John Tchicai Quartet
WDR Studios
Köln, Germany

01 Nachtmusik I 
02 Nachtmusik II
03 Nachtmusik III
04 Nachtmusik IV
05 Frühlingsrauschen

Total time: 53:00

John Tchicai - alto and soprano saxophones, percussion & vocals
Ole Thilo - piano & organ
Peter Warren - bass
Pierre Favre - drums & percussion

pre-FM reels from the WDR archives 
it's unclear, but Tracks 01-04 appear to be improvisations incorporating pre-composed themes for which the titles are unidentified; 
these have been designated "Nachtmusik I-IV" for the purposes of this edition
volume increased +1.4 dB throughout -- with dead air slightly edited -- by EN, April 2022
266 MB FLAC/April 2022 archive link

In terms of quality, this one sounds just like a pre-broadcast, WDR thing always does: that is, indistinguishable -- often cleaner! -- than many official live albums.

Watch this space for part II of this double shot, coming in less than 24.

And happy birthday to John Tchicai, born this day in 1936 and still pioneeringly relevant 10 years after his ascension!--J.

4.28.1936 - 10.8.2012



    NB - this is right up your alley

    1. you can't miss with 'Dris