All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

354

David S. Ware: BalladWare

Troy Collins By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
David S. Ware: BalladWare After a 1999 European tour, the members of the David S. Ware quartet set out to capture their tumultuous live energy in the studio. Post-tour exhaustion derailed their attempts to record a high-energy performance, so they agreed upon a ballad session instead. As a result, BalladWare is the most nuanced and restrained performance by this quartet ever caught on tape.

Tenor saxophonist David S. Ware is joined by his usual quartet members, pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist William Parker and drummer Guillermo E. Brown, on a set of delicate yet impassioned ballads. They have recorded versions of all of these tunes separately in the past, but these new interpretations are markedly different than the originals.

Ware eschews his usual cathartic release, instead opting for a more measured approach. Shipp is ingenious in his accompaniment and solos, the reserved setting provides increased focus on his subtle harmonic talents. Brown is a rich colorist, interlocking seamlessly with Parker's nuanced support on these rubato forms. Due to the conversational nature of the session, ample space is made available for unaccompanied solos, duets and passages bearing minimal accompaniment.

Although nuance and subtlety might seem at odds with a group renowned for calamitous exuberance, the musicians adapt remarkably well to the restricted energy level. "Yesterdays" is taken at a languorous pace, while "Dao" moves along at a brisk but gentle clip, with Shipp's piano given to tender, abstruse lyricism. On such recognizable fare as "Tenderly," the real creative potential of the group comes to the fore. With irreverent deconstruction, the quartet reduces the piece down to a simple phrase, reconfigured, re-contextualized and re-imagined as an epic mantra.

The quartet circumnavigates the eye of the storm for a lesson in the benefits of restraint. While a cut like "Godspelized" verges on erupting into the sort of maelstrom they could easily summon, they step back, keeping the structure of the tune intact, merely burnishing the edges, rather than immolating the entire song.

Not just an exercise in restraint, BalladWare is a melancholy investigation of roads rarely traveled, and quite rich in simmering detail.


Track Listing: Yesterdays; Dao; Autumn Leaves; Godspelized; Sentient Compassion; Tenderly; Angel Eyes.

Personnel: David S. Ware: tenor saxophone; Matthew Shipp: piano; William Parker: contrabass; Guillermo E. Brown: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop For Jazz

Profiles
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Apogee - Birth of a Being
Apogee - Birth of a...
AUM Fidelity
2016
buy
Planetary Unknown: Live at Jazzfestival Saalfelden 2011
Planetary Unknown:...
AUM Fidelity
2012
buy
Planetary Unknown
Planetary Unknown
AUM Fidelity
2011
buy
Organica (Solo Saxophones, Volume 2)
Organica (Solo...
AUM Fidelity
2011
buy
Saturnian (Solo Saxophones Volume 1)
Saturnian (Solo...
AUM Fidelity
2010
buy
Onecept
Onecept
AUM Fidelity
2010
buy
Sonny Rollins Sonny Rollins
saxophone
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
Cecil Taylor Cecil Taylor
piano
William Parker William Parker
bass, acoustic
Albert Ayler Albert Ayler
sax, tenor
Archie Shepp Archie Shepp
saxophone
Tim Berne Tim Berne
saxophone
Steve Lacy Steve Lacy
sax, soprano
Joe McPhee Joe McPhee
reeds

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.