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It's not every day you get a chance to hear tenor saxophonist David S. Ware perform solo. His devotion to his legendary working quartet has resulted in some of the highest points in the recorded history of modern jazz. But Live In The Netherlands, recorded in October of '97, presents Ware's first solo work on disc. And it's a revealing document.
Ware's quartet, in its various reincarnations, has been a massive power-sharing collective of individual players who each are giants in their own right. In the absence of these external forces, Ware rises to the occasion and generates his own. His statements on Live have a sense of parallel reality. While at one level Ware may imply a certain melodic or rhythmic pattern, he intersperses these moments with extended flights offering a purely spontaneous feel. Because he's not letting all the rocket boosters drop free, these "dimensional" pieces retain a higher level of tension and release. It's the ever-shifting relationship between (admittedly abstract) structure and emotional release that sparks the greatest interest on Live.
Ware plays tenor in the Aylerian tradition (enough, already) with special emphasis on the "spiritual" aspects of the music. That includes a sense for the nostalgic shout and cryand, at the same time, a questing drive for enlightenment. He treads the ground between squeak and rumble very carefully, veering up or down to add color where needed. Ware's improvisations gush forth as extended (emotional) statements, rather than repeating themselves or getting caught up in the details . One can approach this music at many levels with repeated listeningsbut suffice to say there's a lot going on here.
Of course it's mandatory to offer a special caution to listeners who prefer their music restrained. Don't go looking here for any of that.