148

David S. Ware Quartet: Freedom Suite

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Tenor saxophonist David S. Ware is something of a prophet. That may sound like a melodramatic exaggeration, but it's true. Ware belongs in a long tradition of African American musical testimony which finds its roots in the early days of slavery and which has manifested itself in subsequent forms of revelation including the blues and gospel. During the development of jazz, its identity evolved through the music of John Coltrane (A Love Supreme) and Albert Ayler (Spiritual Unity). Ware draws heavily from these two masters, though he has carved out a distinctive sound of his own. In some sense, Ware too has seen the light—and his humble role in this world is to share that vision with others.

When I recently spoke with Ware, he talked about his musical inspiration in no uncertain terms: "Sonny Rollins is the living master of the tenor saxophone... I consider him my father." And so he pays dramatic tribute here through his own rendition of the master's 1958 extended composition "Freedom Suite." This version, like the original, builds from short, clear themes within a simple overall framework—which makes the improvised aspect of the piece particularly important. Ware applies his own interpretation, which is decidedly more modern and abstract than the original. The tenor player seems to be yearning, reaching skyward for the cadence of inspiration and the tone of revelation. And as always, his supporting cast plays an integrated role. Matthew Shipp steps up to fill new space in a composition that originally had no piano, lending a stark, gothic voice. Bassist William Parker maintains an organic connection with the spirits, which manifests itself through the irrevocable union of melody, harmony, and rhythm. And Guillermo E. Brown (by far the youngest of the group) lends a fresh, sharp, versatile sound on the drums that supplies as much color as pulse.

The Freedom Suite is emotionally involving the whole way through. And after these forty minutes have passed, there's a palpable sense of calm and resolution. Perhaps that's a sign that Ware has managed to pass along some of his spiritual vision. (These things are hard to put into words.)

This record is the deepest, most coherent, and most accessible DSWQ disc I've heard, and the best record of the year by far. Consider that a recommendation.

Visit AUM Fidelity on the web.


Track Listing: The Freedom Suite.

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

Title: Freedom Suite | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: AUM Fidelity


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Art in the Age of Automation" CD/LP/Track Review Art in the Age of Automation
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "avantNOIR" CD/LP/Track Review avantNOIR
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "Triple Exposure" CD/LP/Track Review Triple Exposure
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Ultimate Hits" CD/LP/Track Review Ultimate Hits
by Doug Collette
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Spirits" CD/LP/Track Review Spirits
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 2, 2017
Read "Coalesce" CD/LP/Track Review Coalesce
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 27, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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