Exposé Online banner

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

Life Overflowing Cover artLove Notes from the Madhouse Cover art

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.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 20, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): John Tchicai

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cast - Legacy – For their ninth studio album, Cast present another strong set of tunes in their established mode. While there are strong contributions from all members, the keyboards of Alfonso Vidales are clearly...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues