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David S. Ware & Matthew Shipp Duo: Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004

Jakob Baekgaard By

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Saxophonist and composer, David S. Ware (1949-2012), was one of the most original voices in modern jazz and his uncompromising approach to his art was deeply connected with a spiritual understanding of life. To Ware, playing and listening to music were different aspects of the essence of life.

Ware left behind a rich discography and, fortunately, new musical treasures are still coming. One of them is a live recording from Sant'Anna Arresi with his long-term-collaborator, the pianist, Matthew Shipp. The album is the second volume in AUM Fidelity's ongoing series of archive recordings.

In the fine notes penned by Shipp, he points out how they were trying to find a new musical language while still being aware of their past together: "I hear both of us being conscious of the fact that there is no leader, and our ways of reacting to each other based on the language we had built up in the quartet are here made freer and thrust into a different context."

The result is intense and burning music. Two instant compositions, lasting about twenty minutes, and a brief encore. Shipp digging into the piano like a mountain, bringing out hard, sharp diamonds, and at times plucking the strings, making them sound like an ancient temple. All the time, Ware reaches higher and higher. His sound is thick, huge and raw, but also fragile and beautiful in all its burning intensity.

In the middle of the staggering achievement of what the Japanese saxophonist, Akira Sakata, has called a "marathon high," there is also room for more quiet moments, but listeners should be warned that this is a deep plunge and it is music that requires emotional surrender.

At around the 10.47 mark in "Tao Flow (Part 2)" listen closely and there is the sound of a dog barking in the background. It is a very rare thing in live jazz recordings to encounter something like this, but in Ware's case, it makes perfect sense and is a beautiful coincidence that confirms the connection between life and art that was so essential to him.

Track Listing: Tao Flow part 1; Tao Flow part 2; Encore.

Personnel: David S. Ware: sax (tenore); Matthew Shipp: pianoforte.

Title: Live in Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004 | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: AUM Fidelity

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