All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

354

David S. Ware: BalladWare

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: BalladWare | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Outsidethebox CD/LP/Track Review
Outsidethebox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 16, 2018
Read There Are Stars In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review
There Are Stars In Brooklyn
by James Fleming
Published: October 16, 2018
Read The Seasons of Being CD/LP/Track Review
The Seasons of Being
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 16, 2018
Read Passages CD/LP/Track Review
Passages
by Don Phipps
Published: October 16, 2018
Read Picture in Black and White CD/LP/Track Review
Picture in Black and White
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: October 15, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 15, 2018
Read "Awareness" CD/LP/Track Review Awareness
by Chris May
Published: August 4, 2018
Read "Arise" CD/LP/Track Review Arise
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 10, 2017
Read "Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album" CD/LP/Track Review Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: June 29, 2018
Read "Moving Day" CD/LP/Track Review Moving Day
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 27, 2018
Read "Enso" CD/LP/Track Review Enso
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 27, 2018
Read "Blow" CD/LP/Track Review Blow
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 11, 2018