David S. Ware
Flight of I
DIW : 1992
DSW, tenor sax; Matthew Shipp, piano; William Parker, bass; Marc Edwards, drums.
The David S. Ware Quartet was the great working group of the 1990s. Given how much this band touches on the key tropes of D:O — forging links between New Thing and old traditions; melding beauty with brawn; making the band primary over I’m-up-now-you-hang-back individualism – it’s surprising how long it has taken us to feature them. While our favorite configuration of the quartet featured drummer extraordinaire Susie Ibarra, it’s impossible to argue with the overall excellence of Flight of I.
“Aquarian Sound” is the sort of cut you could play for someone who just touched down from the interstellar low ways and had no idea what jazz was. The first few minutes would give her a good grounding. Everyone here sounds great, but pianist Matthew Shipp makes the grandest statement, both ryhthmically inventive and insistently dramatic. Those that dig this tune would do well to check out the half-hour workout it gets on the three-disc concert set Live in the World.
“Yesterdays” features the quartet thoroughly reimagining the Jerome Kern standard. Ware teases out the notes, tunneling his way into the DNA of the song, organically transforming the ballad into a pulsing wail — and then returning it to its original shape. This isn’t some clever academic deconstruction that winks at the song structure, but an actual reanimating and reimbodying of the notes themselves. It’s a genunine Body Snatcher moment. Which of course we mean as the highest compliment.
As many of you know, David S. Ware hasn’t been well for some time. He was desperately in need of a new kidney and fortunately a donor recently came through for him. Extreme gratitude is due to Laura Mehr. For the latest updates on Ware’s health, be sure to visit the AUM Fidelity-hosted health update page.
More Ware links:
-Perfect Sound Forever interview (1988);
-Amazingly comprehensive DSW sessionography;
-Do check Ware’s fascinating recent output at AUM;
-Signal to Noise profile [pdf] (2005);
-Brian Morton on the Ware Qt [pdf], The Nation (2005);
-The Wire profile (1999);
-Bill Shoemaker on Ware, Jazz Times (1998).