John Tchicai Trio: Good Night Songs (2006)
Tchicai and Kohlhase are seamlessly simpatico, a product of previous pairings, and Fewell's guitar provides a third foil, filling in with bass, counterpoint, chordal accompaniment and percussive ornaments. On "The Queen of Ra, "On Fait La Taille, "Start to Finish and "Consolation Cake, the three voices are superbly intermeshed, completing each other's sentences like an old married ménage à trois; on "Ramana Maharshi and "X-ray Vision they trade choruses in a round-robin fashion, reacting to and building on a common musical thread.
Tchicai's quirky and offhand phrasing seems to rise up out of his subconscious, while Kohlhase is more teleological, fashioning architectonically sound solos of classical elegance. Fewell exploits the open strings of his guitar, freely superimposing a variety of tones and textures over droning pedal points, giving many of the selections a modal flavor.
At the Cornelia Street Café on Easter Sunday the mood was playfully numinous: Tchicai's tenor tone seemed drawn from a deep well and the music had a mantra-like quality. Besides songs from the recording the set included "Far-sided Friendship (a sort of "New Lang Syne ); "Oysters and Carrots, featuring Tchicai's rumbly poetry and Fewell's prepared guitar; "We Need Your Number, in which the group "traded fours (roughly speaking); and "Yogi in Disguise (aka "Intangible Doorman ). The trio's compositions proved mere bookends, points of departure for somewhere elsewhat Tchicai called an "udflugt, the Danish word for excursion or picnic.
The John Tchicai Trio exemplifies unleashed restraint: its musicadventurous, probing, atonally antiphonalis tangibly transparent, like a Zen painting that never obscures the expressive silence of the blank canvas with excessive brushstrokes.
Track Listing: Floating; The Queen of Ra; Thriftshopping; Undercurrent; Rmana Maharshi; On Fait la Taille; X-ray Vision; Start to Finish; Lilanto del Indio; Consolation Cake.
Personnel: John Tchicai: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, voice, percussion; Charlie Kohlhase: tenor, alto, & baritone sax; Garrison Fewell: guitar, chopsticks, slide & percussion.
Record Label: Boxholder Records
Style: Modern Jazz