Tchicai PhotoW

John Tchicai entertains school children. Russ Tucker/Courtesy photo


Tchicai tribute at Thursday Live!

Thursday Live! will honor the music and spirit of John Tchicai, a jazz legend with local ties who died in 2008, with dual performances beginning at 7:30 p.m. March 6 at the Davis Odd Fellows Hall, 415 Second St.
Tony Passarell (sax), Keith Cary (cello) and Kerry Kashiwagi (bass), former sidemen for Tchicai, will perform. Mark Oi, Jeff Simons, and Andrew Enberg will perform compositions by Tchicai and some original compositions.
The show is open for all ages. Donations are encouraged with all money going directly to the bands.

Tchicai lived in Davis from 1991 until 2001. Born in 1936 to a Danish mother and Congolese father, he first instrument was the violin, but eventually switched to alto saxophone at age 16. New York City called in 1963, and Tchicai embraced the jazz avant-garde. While in New York, he recorded on 11 records during his four-year stay. He was recorded on John Coltrane’s Ascension LP and Albert Ayler’s New York Ear and Eye Control LP. Two seminal groups were co-founded by Tchicai during this period: The New York Contemporary Five (with Archie Shepp and Don Cherry) and the New York Art Quartet (with Roswell Rudd, Milford Graves and Reggie Workman). The Art Quartet’s record, “Mohawk,” is considered a classic recording from this period. In 1969, Tchicai performed on John Lennon’s “Life with Lions” LP.
Early in the 1980s, Tchicai switched to the tenor saxophone as his main instrument. He was accomplished on all of the saxophones, as well as the bass clarinet, and wooden flutes. During the 80s, Tchicai was very busy performing with Cecil Taylor, Lee Konitz, Misha Mengelberg, Johnny Dyani and Pierre Dørge’s New Jungle Orchestra.
His 1991 move to Davis was meant to be temporary, but Tchicai fell in love with Davis and became a part of the musical fabric for the next 10 years.

The first band Tchicai formed in Davis was the Coyote Ensemble. Shortly after this, he formed John Tchicai and the Archetypes, a band that fused Afro jazz with blues rock. He took his spirited ensemble to the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Knitting Factory in New York City and two tours in Europe.

In 2001, Tchicai and his family left Davis to settle in Claira, France. He continued to perform all over Europe and made yearly visits to perform in New York City and Chicago. He died on Oct. 8, 2012, from complications of a stroke he had suffered. Tchicai was on his way to perform at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival when he had the stroke.

Thursday Live! is sponsored each month by the Davis Odd Fellows Music and Concert Committee with help from KDRT. For more information, or to be added to the email list, contact Juelie Roggli at [email protected]

Special to The Enterprise

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