was born in Benin (formerly Dahomey).
His name means thunder and lightning.
He is one of the most surprising pianists I have ever had the pleasure
He has made more than twenty recordings as a soloist as well as with Steve
Lacy, Archie Shepp, Georges Lewis, Mal Waldron, Sunny Murray, Sonny Simmons,
The few records of his that I know arrived in the mail.
On their covers were splashes of color - pictures that he himself had
was mysterious music that sounded as if it had escaped from the paintings
: straightforward, precise, rhythmic, and at the same time fragmented,
Perhaps this is jazz, so of course, we think of Monk - because he bets
with incredible insistance on absence and power, rhythm and silence.
It's also a kind of literature beyond good and evil, laid out like a journey
end of night, alternating between furious tantrums and melancholy.
Somehow, Louis-Ferdinand Céline is nearby...
Tchangondei never studied music, but as a teenager he would sneak out
of the house every night and climb the wall of the community youth club,
bewitched by the intriguing black and white keys of an old upright piano.
He would play for hours, trying to recreate the sounds haunting his soul.
He idolises no one, and he seeks no particular melody.
When I was about twenty, I got to meet Krishnamurti, the Indian writer,
thinker and philosopher. I saw right away that this man was overflowing
with strength and energy, and it filled his whole being.
He radiated absolute wholeness. I immediately understood that creativity
only happens within oneself.
Actually, there are three instruments : you, the piano, and the energy.
You have to play the first instrument well, but most people are only interested
in the second one. That's the trap : then they only become good technicians.
This doesn't mean that spontaneity is the mother of Art, but rather that
the most important work happens inside oneself.
is how trance music comes to be, rearing up in the light and then scattering.
" he says," because you have to be in a
state of perfect emptiness in order to harness the incredible energy that
can never be captured with the net of thought or knowledge."
We could have mentioned painting, which is also, after all, about space
But he prefered to melt into the crowd after quoting
the saxophone player Steve Lacy, " Nowadays we try to tame everything
in order to avoid mystery, because it frightens us."