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David S. Ware: Go See The World

Glenn Astarita By

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“Go See The World” represents tenor saxophonist David S Ware’s initial and much anticipated release for Columbia Records. Branford Marsalis’ recent appointment as creative consultant for the label’s jazz division has paved the way for Ware’s induction to Columbia Records. Historically, tenure at Columbia for non-mainstream jazz musicians of similar backgrounds namely Henry Threadgill and David Murray was for the most part short-lived. If Columbia Records is serious and not overtly concerned with substantial profits and quick return than this may be a good thing. Otherwise, Columbia’s seemingly abundant marketing/publicity budget should serve as a good promotional vehicle for Mr. Ware. Thankfully, David S. Ware made little or no concessions to streamline his musical approach in the wake of Columbia’s endorsement.

“Go See The World” is a continuation of Ware’s ever-evolving musical journey. Besides, no one can reasonably ascertain that David S. Ware suffers from a lack of energy or motivation. He is a true “force of nature”. Ware’s band mates are: William Parker: bass; Matthew Shipp: piano and New York City downtown drummer, Susie Ibarra who replaces long time associate Whit Dickey. The track titled “Lexicon” features Ware’s forceful and explosive signature style. Ware moans, groans, honks, screeches and injects flurries of melodic statements reminding us that somewhere underneath all the dynamics there is a song. Ware benefits from pianist Matthew Shipp’s swirling, heavy-handed chord phrasings and acute ear. Shipp provides much of the color in this band while Parker and Ibarra suggest odd rhythmic patterns, which skillfully compliment Ware’s stratospheric extrapolations into new frontiers. “Lexicon” also features some interesting arco-bass passages from the incredibly adept William Parker. Compelling dialogue ensues while Ware takes a much-needed breather. Marvin Hamlisch’s ballad “The Way We Were” is given the once over here. Ware expends quite a bit of energy during his rendition of this somewhat grandiose love song. Clocking in at 14 minutes it seems almost comical that Ware would pick such a tune as a foray into avant-garde digressions. Here, Ware seems driven and his personalized approach borders on the spiritual. Shipp performs a lovely piano interlude by toying with and suggesting the melody while eventually leading into a bombastic crescendo of flailing keys. Ware concludes with gut-wrenching conviction. “Quadrahex” is a rhythmically free and improvisational piece, which entails a good dose of dialogue among the band members. “Estheticmetric” is perhaps an ode to Ware’s NYC Loft Days featuring more exchanges of free style dialogue accented by some absorbing bass lines from Parker. Ware darts, jabs and appears comfortable during these musical exchanges, which firmly identifies his intentions

Hopefully Mr. Ware and Columbia will enjoy a healthy, long-term relationship and open up some ears for curious listeners who yearn for something different. However, at times “Go See The World” suffers from sameness in content and doesn’t adhere to compositional form to any observable degree. Ware does not aim to finesse with subtlety and nuance. His style while expressive and at times free, may tend to overwhelm. Otherwise we can accept Mr. Ware for his positive and keen awareness of jazz vernacular. David S. Ware has honed a unique voice on the tenor saxophone and consistently receives astonishing support from a very accomplished band. We wish him the best of luck with Columbia Records.


Title: Go See The World | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Cristal Records

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