We’re seeing some unfortunate news today on the internet that Danish saxophonist John Tchicai has died, though so far without any official confirmation. This is terrible news, if true, as Tchicai has been long known as one of the best players, yet he was sort of weirdly unheralded outside the jazz cognoscenti. His discography is long and broad, going back to early 1960s work with Archie Shepp, the New York Art Quartet (with Roswell Rudd, Milford Graves, Lewis Worrell, and Amiri Baraka), and John Coltrane‘s classic Ascension. It should also be said that he continued to play and compose some really great stuff over the past few decades, though the last time we saw him play was in Chicago in the late 1990s. He will be greatly missed.
We’ll update when we find official (or otherwise) obituaries and tributes posted, and hopefully we’ll post some of Tchicai’s music to sample, as well.
UPDATE, 10/7/2012, 9:30 PM: One good place to start in Tchicai’s massive discography is the self-titled debut from 1964 by the New York Art Quartet, his classic group with Roswell Rudd, Milford Graves, and Lewis Worrell (and Amiri Baraka, reciting poetry on the track “Black Dada Nihilismus”). So, for a short time, you can find it here: http://www.sendspace.com/file/5cawmw.
UPDATE, 10/8/12: The Associated Press has published an obituary for Tchicai, which has been picked up by several news outlets: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gR2SgcqNtQQiD9zYUc7-67LDCYKA?docId=a95085a0576e4f50936c160ba2ff22bf.