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Thirsty Ear's generous Live in the World set presents tenor saxophone terror David S. Ware performing with his stellar quartet including pianist Matthew Shipp and bassist William Parker in three different concerts, on three discs, with three different drummers. The repertoire consists of Ware compositions and cover tunes personalized by the DSWQ.
The epic "Aquarian Sound, from 1992's Flight of the I, gives the 1998 Chiasso Switzerland show a portentous beginning. After the rhythm section warms up the riff, Ware's raw, soulful tone blazes across the soundscape. Susie Ibarra holds the percussionist's chair on this disc. Busy with brushes, she sculpts sound textures during Shipp's broad wanderings and Parker's bass bounce. Ware turns the sax inside out twice before Shipp shatters his granite chords into fast-rolling shards. Ibarra gets tribal with percussion, coloring Parker's slippery bowed solo.
A warm solo tenor torrent christens Logistic. After a characteristically dramatic intro, the mood unravels into tail-chasing Monkisms, probably inspiring the Monkish title. Ware makes brass dance with Ibarra and Parker stirring the pot. Shipp hammers the piano and creates Escher-esque melodic pathways. Mirroring Sonny Rollins' willingness to dig for gold in dismissible pop tunes, the Ware quartet offers its dynamic reworking of the sentimental trifle "The Way We Were.
Disc 2 fast forwards to 2003 Italy. Hamid Drake's multidimensional momentum fuels the high octane "Elder's Path. Ware jumps out in front, with Shipp following like a full bore thresher. The sax rolls playfully over Shipp's earnest downward pattern. Ware and Drake duet to open "Unknown Mansion. By the time Shipp and Parker join, Ware sits out, letting the piano lead. Ware spreads deep beauty over Shipp's rippling keys on "Sentient Compassion. Parker plays a tremulous arco solo, and Ware finishes with elegance.
Disc 3 revisits the DSWQ paying homage to Sonny Rollins, performing his "Freedom Suite live in Italy with drummer Guillermo E. Brown taking on the drumming duties. Pushing their performance beyond their AUM Fidelity studio recording of the same material, the inspired expansion documents the genius of this premier ensemble.
Ware-heads rejoice. Even the smart cover art depicting the elephant god Ghanesh with his trunk a saxophone works. After the mostly compositional collection released as Threads, Live in the World delivers a satisfying collection of the these formidable musicians creating live, with Ware, storming the gates of Heaven, leading the charge.
Track Listing: CD1: Aquarian Sound; Logistic; The Way We Were; Mikuro's Blues. CD2: Elder's Path; Unknown Mansion; Sentient Compassion; Co Co Cana; Manu's Ideal; Lexicon. CD3: Freedom Suite pt 1, 2, 3, 4; Stargazers.
Personnel: David S. Ware, tenor sax; Matthew Shipp, piano; William Parker, bass; Susie Ibarra: drums (CD1); Hamid Drake: drums (CD2); Guillermo E. Brown: drums (CD3).