Friday, February 4, 2011

Live in Athens - John Tchicai [Praxis CM101]

Live in Athens -John Tchicai-

Solo Saxophone

Side 1
1. Saluting Praxis
2. Freeing Up The Second
3. Song of The Islands

Side 2
1. That One For Whom?
2. Frobenius Stomp
3. Elephants Never Forget

John Tchicai - Alto Saxophone and vocal

Recorded live at the 'Praxis Jazz '80' festival Alambra Theatre, Athens Greece.
Produced by Kostas Yiannoulopoulos
Praxis Records CM101

The veteran inside/outside Afro-Danish saxophone player John Tchicai - here from a live solo gig at Athens' 'Praxis Festival' in 1980. Just about a decade and a half after appearing on Coltrane's 'Ascension', and closer to 20 years after his work with The New York Contemporary Five and the New York Art Quartet [with Roswell Rudd, Don Cherry, Archie Shepp, Reggie Workman, Milford Graves et al.]
July 1964 saw Tchicai appearing with Albert Ayler's trio of the time (Gary Peacock, Sunny Murray), as well as Cherry and Rudd on the seminal 'New York Eye and Ear Control' on ESP.
In 1969 he played on John Lennon's 'Life With The Lions'.
The year after Live in Athens was taped , he featured on record with Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath ('Yes Please' 1981). He has played with Cecil Taylor, Charles Gayle, Johnny Dyani, Instant Composers Pool, Willem Breuker, Wadada Leo Smith - and a hell of a lot of other musicians, both live and on records.
Born in 1936, he is still active and playing today - recently, in a Parisian Albert Ayler tribute gig - As Dan Warbuton notes, Tchicai was the only person to take the stage that night that had actually played with Ayler.
Here, Tchicai is playful, relaxed and happy to communicate & interact with his audience .
At times, he vamps on repeated riffs, bringing to mind a big-band guy playing section-work, or a single part of an imagined saxophone quartet. Bursting out from repeated riffs and themes into skirls and drifts of flurried improvisation, and then back 'inside' for melodic ostinatos. With a 'groovy crowd chant-along section' on Side 2 !
The Praxis label was the child of Kostas Yiannoulopoulos and over a dozen titles came out under the imprint between 1980 and 1985. It's not to be confused with the hardcore techno label of the same name. (I can assure younger readers that hardcore techno did not exist in 1980).
Possibly most familiar titles on the label may be the 'Sun Ra Live at Praxis' releases, and possibly the excellent Cecil Taylor solo double album (simply entitled 'Praxis') that has been posted at inconstant sol ( )
Some Praxis-label material has ended up on Leo ['Golden Years of New Jazz'] , after the suggestion that Yiannoulopoulos did not have the rights to release it - such as the Art Ensemble's 'Among The People ' - later on CD as "Live in Milano'.
That the label was very closely affiliated with the festival of the same name seems clear. Any, more fulsome information about the Praxis Festival, gratefully appreciated from anyone that knows.
Despite the fact that says this doesn't exist, this was in fact the first LP on the Praxis label.
Old hands will know that this record has circulated in rough MP3 form (only 160kps) on the net, and, for all I know, perhaps in a more attractive format as well.
Here are some FLACs - and also some MP3s [320kbps] from my pretty clean vinyl. There's a bit of 'topiness' and 'edge' to a couple of the louder passages that are pretty much "limitations of the source material". I'm considering doing some scientific experimentation in re-ripping this with radically different turntable settings to try a 'softening approach'. If it all works out beautifully, I'll post the links here too.
This might not be, in the end, a "Hall of Fame album" that will live, deathless, through the ages. Kind of Blue and A Love Supreme are already that, and the smell of formaldehyde they give off is overpoweringly deadening. Ashley Kahn is never going to write a book called "Live in Athens - The Making of J.Tchicai's Grecian Masterpiece". And a good thing too - he's a shit writer.
But this is real, this is fun, this is a little complex as well as a little simple .
Like all live albums worth their salt, it makes you feel like you were there.

Check out John Tchicai's website, and buy something of his if you can - so much is good !
In writing this, I've only just stumbled across the Taso label which Tchicai is on - interesting looking recordings with Karl Berger and Albert Mangelsdorff [amongst others].
Jazzloft has a good little range of Tchicai - including the classic 1975 live-in-Willisau recording with Irene Schweizer, Buschi Niebergall & Makaya Ntshoko that is Willi The Pig. (The Pig is Great..)

NB: For those wondering, the 'Kalispera!' that John shouts, is not Greek for "The Benificent Creator Blesses Our Vibrational Gathering" or somesuch - it simply means 'Good Evening'. Further Greek translation (of Side 2 dialogue) welcome. I know [some time ago] we had at least ONE Athenian-based fellow-traveller looking in here. Of course I realise that everybody fell asleep and drifted off to other places long ago. Heh ...


serviceton said...

FLACs - Live in Athens: J Tchicai

Part 1

Part 2

slovenlyeric said...

Yes Tchicai still plays. He was at last years Vision Festival and also appeared at Local 269 a couple of months ago. His current group 5 Points is really good. Unfortunately, I have had trouble finding their recordings. Thank you for posting this one.

serviceton said...

MP3s(320) - Live in Athens: J Tchicai

1 Part Only

wightdj said...

Heard this many years ago, thanks.

hjulien said...

Thanks a lot! I didn't know this one

Igor said...

Many thanks for this rarity.

hideo said...

Serviceton, thanks--truly looking forward to sitting down with this!

Frédito said...

Serviceton, σας ευχαριστώ !
Greetings to Sotise, hoping to see him back soon.

glmlr said...


To answer a couple of points / questions you raise above.

Praxis was a sort of umbrella name for whatever Kostas Yiannoulopoulos did in the interests of jazz in Greece during the 70's, 80's and into the 90's, prior to his early death of a heart attack while still in his 40's. He hosted radio and television programs, held his own mini-festival, started the Praxis label, promoted small concerts and ran numerous other little side activities during this period. While it was all cottage-industry level stuff, it was nevertheless the work of an impassioned man, who could make enemies more easily than he made friends.

The Cecil Taylor record was named "Praxis" (which means "action" or "act", the noun, in Greek) because it was intended to be the first issue on the label, but complications meant it came out a little later than planned, by which time 3 other releases had preceded it numerically. The vinyl rip over on I. Sol was mine.

On track B2, (i.e. about 08'00" on side B here), Tchicai says to the audience, off-mike, "How do you say 'Repeat after me in Greek?' ". Several audience members tell him, and after some guffawing, he gets it right: "Epanalavete meta apo mena". The guffawing is credited to a couple of wags in the audience who try to get him to say something utterly obscene in Greek, about what one might or could do to his (or your) mother.

The rest needs no explanation.


serviceton said...

glmlr - glad you dropped by. - with some (expectedly) more fulsome contextual information. Plus translation services !
I guessed that it may have been 'Repeat after me' or 'Everybody now', but the mention of the proffered obscenity offered by way of alternative is amusing. I hope I didn't do Yiannoulopoulos a deservice in suggesting there was something 'not quite right' about the AEoC LP I mentioned. He sounds like he was a dynamic individual..

Thanks all for comments, everyone that has (hey frédito, I can't see those funny letters on *my keyboard*...)

Frédito said...

Serviceton, those funny letters were just there to pretend that I know how to say "thank you" in Greek (a copy-paste written in greek characters).

Merci for your share !

Anonymous said...

any chance you could reupload this one , PLEASE ??

serviceton said...

Hi Anonymous, I'll do you a deal. Get a Blogger ID - give yourself a name, check back here and say Hi again. It will take <1 minute. Be our friend - become part of our community. Then we can call you by name and be generally friendly!
In the meantime, I'll have a rummage and see if I can find the RARs for this one to put back up for you.
Whaddya say?

guitars said...

Hi agan
Sounds fine, I'm Abe from mexico city...trying to learn something about trackers, blogs..and finding gems like those you have shared over here....thanks again.

serviceton said...

Abe - lovely to see you back !(as a person, not as an Anonymous). Welcome ! Trackers would relate just to BitTorrent file sharing - for live music recordings of all kinds - Dimeadozen is the place to start. You need to get an account first - this is free., then Account > Signup.
Blogs? There are many many - some like this one - only doing out of print material. Maybe check out the Blog Links at Inconstantsol and Destination Out - not so much the Blog Links here , which are good but few.
'Blogland' is currently reeling somewhat from the recent takedown by the US Govt of file-hosting "go-to" service MegaUpload. Other (similar) filehosts have run scared since the seizure and have stopped making blogger-friendly services available. Which means a lot of dead links out there currently. Admins on busy blogs like Inconstantsol must be spending more , more and more time re-upping files on request. There are still options for filehosting - just less than before, so it's not the end of the world.
Ask if there's anything you want advice on - the advice may be worthless, but it's well meant at least.
As to John Tchicai - Live in Athens - do you want MP3s (64MB) or FLACs (393MB)?

guitars said...

..thanks for your nice answer..I already have an account at Dime...but I haven't had the time to look at the blogs.....I had the idea that there were only oficial cd-releases in mp3...but I have looked at inconstant sol and I'm amazed how many jazz gems are available....amazing the work you do sharing all these recordings almost impossible to get if any chance it would be great to have the flac files regards from mexico...and thanks again...

serviceton said...

Official releases in MP3 (and other formats) are of course out there - ethically maybe questionable, and pretty tedious as a general idea [my point of view]. We do very little work here - but hopefully the quality is OK. At places like inconstantsol it is a constantly flowing *river* of recordings and much work is always done I think.
Nice to meet you abe - hopefully see you around !
here's the Tchicai re-upped FLAC links

GUITARS said...



sachat54 said...

hello... is-it possible for you to refresh those dead links ..? thanks for your reply! daniel latour

serviceton said...

Here you go - a repost

sachat54 said...

thanks for this new link ! ( I think I was a bit asleep - didn't notice your message )

Anonymous said...

huge thankssssss