How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
The Calm Center.
Saxophone...How Close to Wynton, err...Ellington. In 1965, Down Beat magazine described John Tchicai as, “A Calm Voice of the Avant-Garde”. The mid ‘60s was the heyday of Free Jazz with Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Sam Rivers, Archie Schepp, and the list goes on. Not unlike the Second Viennese School and their 12-tone system, many Jazz Freebirds circled back to play around tonal centers. That is where we find Tchicai. His music is carefully composed and makes one think of Wynton Marsalis’ most recent work on his “Swinging into the 21st Century”. The big difference is the chances Tchicai risks in his composition. Tchicai’s textures are low reeds deep or in the wine parlance, “it has an oaky nose”. In the current offering, Tchicai joins Danish jazz combo ok nok...kongo. The music is at once very organized in a mood-altered sort of way. This is traditional jazz viewed through the lens of a mild hallucinogen, not a nightmare maker, only a context shifter. This is music that makes perfect sense in those late morning dreams where the dreamer has it all figured out and it is not as one would have expected. This is surprising, fun, inventive and ingenious music that requires several listenings to like and never enough listenings to be satisfied.
Track Listing: Moonstone Journey; Finding the Path; The Frog and the Snake; A Chaos With Some Kind of Order; Spirituals of Ruby; Climbing the Mountain; Hypothesis; At the Lotus Lake; Holy Coordinator; Monk Me. (Total Playing Time 52:35).
Personnel: Thomas Ageraard: Soprano and Tenor Saxophones, Flute; Martin Andersen: Drums; Niclas Knudsen; Guitar; Kasper Tranberg: Coronet; Nils Davidsen: Bass; Mads Hyhne: Trombone; Peter Fuglsang: Alto Saxophone, Clarinet; John Tchicai: Soprano and Tenor Saxophones.