A chaos with some kind of order

John Tchicai’s biography is a personal and informative collage of story, poems, music charts, photos and illustrations about a freedom-loving musician. He was a composer and teacher and a pioneer throughout his inspiring life.

by Margriet Naber
Ear Mind Heart Media
198 pages

“I think the thing that most people remember John for is his approachability and kindness to younger musicians. I remember John sitting in with the Either/Orchestra on a gig in Sacramento in 1992. Afterward a bunch of us were gushing to him about how much we loved his playing: his sound, time, articulation…all very special.
In that distinctive accent and intonation John said, “You can do that too…you have the capability…there is no mystery to it…you just have to develop.” I told him I was working on transcribing his composition “Exercise 15”. He said, “Don’t bother, I have it in a book.”
I drove him to his apartment, under a spectacular lunar eclipse. He gave me a copy of his book, Advice For Improvisers, and said, “maybe someday I’ll play this composition with your group” and, in fact, he did the following year.
That was the beginning of many collaborations over the next 15 years. I feel very privileged to have shared in this master musician’s sound world. I’m having a hard time acclimating myself to a world without Master Tchicai.”

in the New York Jazz Journal of December 2012, scroll to p. 14