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Something to watch out for in Shreveport: Tchai

posted Oct 6, 2011, 11:36 AM by Daniel Mark Cassity
For those who appreciate an instrumental free-form, improvisational musical experience, catch Tchai (Tracy Chappell - Guitar, Robert Trudeau - Bass, and Ron Hardy - Percussion) live in Shreveport.  All rooted in the rhythms of Hardy, Chappell's guitar work is as solid as inventive - soaring, blistering, and just as quickly supportive and subtle - with Trudeau's bass lines defining the space between them.  Perhaps what I find most enjoyable about their performances is the sense that they are approaching their instruments less as obvious "instruments" and more like "sound generators".  Trudeau's non-cliched, fingered bass lines are derived from slapping, plucking, walking, and even power chords.  Hardy switches from hand drumming to occasional sticks with ease, producing a wide variety of driving and mesmerizing rhythms.  Chappell's exceptional guitar work steers the melodic aspect of the ship, utilizing - like the others - every inch of the instrument, and squeezing out every possible sound.  Fusing many musical styles, they have found an area of their own that can only, truly be defined as Tchai - even handing out percussion instruments to the audience resulting in something like a spontaneous chant/trance.  If you are someone who must "know" every song that you hear, Tchai may not be for you, but if you are not interested in the "same old same old" catch Tchai in Shreveport.  Ultimately, this is a "musicians" band (if you don't know what that means, you're not a musician, and don't worry about it), but what anyone in the audience will surely experience is pure musical joy - the love of playing.
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