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John Tchicai/Irene Schweizer: Willi the Pig

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.

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