TJAK TJAKA TCHICAIBy Robert Iannapollo CD Reveiw from THE NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD
The relationship between Tchicai and guitarist
Pierre Dørge was close. Dørge’s recording debut was
on Tchicai’s epochal 1969 big band record Afrodisiaca.
In turn, it was playing with Tchicai that eventually
spurred Dørge to form his New Jungle Orchestra,
mixing West African music with Ellington/Mingusstyle
jazz. Tchicai was with the band for its first ten
years and would occasionally return as a guest soloist.
So, when he passed in 2012, it was inevitable that the
band would record a tribute to their mentor and
colleague. Tjak Tjaka Tchicai consists of material that
was either performed during the era Tchicai was in the
band (“A Rose For Laurent”), inspired by/dedicated to
him or composed by him (“Largo Lapidarius”). But
rather than sounding funereal, Tchicai is celebrated
with rousing performances. When playing “Largo
Lapidarius”, the band emphasizes the rapturous
beauty inherent in the composition. And when the
energy level is elevated, the enthusiasm and dynamism
really comes to the fore (“Mozimbo”, “Ker Dorong”
and the title track). And in thanking Tchicai on this
disc, his memory is given a spirited send-off.