John Tchicai / Charlie Kohlhase Quintet — Life Overflowing
(Nada Music Nada 100, 1999, CD)
John Tchicai and Yusef Komunyakaa — Love Notes from the Madhouse
(8th Harmonic Breakdown 8thhb 80001, 1999, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2000-10-01
Tenor saxophonist John Tchicai is the leader or co-leader on two recent independent jazz releases. Life Overflowing is a quintet project, while the other is spoken word prose backed by reeds. The quintet is made up of well-established East and West Coast players including pianist Dave Bryant who is an Ornette Coleman alumnus. Tchicai's solo statements are passive, understated, and amenable statements on "His Tulips Were Soft as Berries." Overall certain theme development reminds me of the UK scene and Ian Carr's Nucleus such as on "Detour." There is also a certain amount of whimsy in the free jazz context of the band as the "Slow Down Boreas." Charlie Kohlhase is the album's joint leader and his composition "Knee Bop" is the most animated bebop groover on the disc, and the group really executes. The rhythm section of drummer Harvey Wihrt and bassist John Turner keeps the groove going and the pace driven across the disc.
Love Notes from the Madhouse chronicles a different Tchicai band configuration from a Chicago live show in September 1997. Jeff Parker's low understated guitar acts as a late night epiphany for Komuntakaa's "Venus's Flytrap." "Dolphy's Aviary/Malachite" is the main showcase piece, where Tchicai's flippant introduction leads into a Komunyakaa recitation, which leads into a somber theme. "Bloodcount" is a cover track, which is concurrent across both discs, the second version featuring a smoother balance than the quintet version. Closing out the album is the upbeat light samba "Blue Light Lounge Sutra/Time Inside II" (much in the style of Gong's Didier Malherbe). By peeling away the layers of the indie jazz scene there are a few precious stones such as Tchicai's works to be studied and appreciated.
Related artist(s): John Tchicai
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more