John_tchicai-willi_the_pig_span3
April 2001

John Tchicai/Irene Schweizer
Willi the Pig
Unheard Music Series/Atavistic

Cut at the Swiss Willisau Jazz Festival in 1975, the material here was original issued on a limited edition (500 copy) LP. This reissue is certainly welcome. The group includes John Tchicai on soprano and alto saxes, pianist Irene Schweizer, bassist Buschi Niebergall and drummer Makaya Ntshoko. It contains one selection, which may have been put together on the spot, with little or no preparation, but it's a very coherent performance, with varied portions and moods, ranging from solos by Tchicai, a major free-jazz stylist, and Schweizer, to aggressive collective improvisation. It opens with a Middle Easternlike section that recalls some of John Coltrane's mid-1960s modal selections.

Tchicai had his own take on the new thing in the 1960s. He played emotionally, but was not an out of control improviser, and paid attention to things like motivic development, as his work at the end of this CD illustrates.

Contemporary classical players and Cecil Taylor have influenced Schweizer's work, but she has her own take on them. She's a less percussive player than Taylor, even when pulling out all stops, and her work sometimes has a reflective, impressionistic quality. Her work at times here has a lot of infectiousness as well, and like Tchicai, she develops her ideas intelligently. Niebergall and Ntshoko both do excellent jobs; their work makes a lot of sense even when it's violent.

Originally published in April 2001
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