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David S. Ware: Organica (Solo Saxophones, Volume 2)

John Sharpe By

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As the follow up to saxophonist David S. Ware's lauded Saturnian (Solo Saxophones, Volume 1) (AUM Fidelity, 2010) studio session, this second volume comprises two entire concerts documented in March and November 2010, each pairing matching titled cuts on sopranino and tenor saxophones.

If the previous album served to demonstrate that the reedman's solo powers were undimmed, Volume 2 not only affirms that situation, but goes further in showing reservoirs of interior focus and invention that are stronger than ever. The standard is remarkably high over its four tracks totaling more than 78 minutes, with few of the longeurs that can afflict extended single-instrument recitals.

Ware espouses a stream-of-consciousness approach, on occasion tumbling into eastern tonalities, invoking a profound personal spiritualism, especially on the straight horn. In contrast to the companion disc the saxophonist makes fewer altissimo power plays, staying largely within the normal range of his instruments. But with a tone big enough to pin listeners to the back of an auditorium, the intensity generated in more intimate spaces can only be imagined. Peaks are traversed in his arcing trajectory—but as part of the journey, not the ultimate destination. Ware paces himself across both sets, his purposeful extemporized flights of fancy pierced but not deflected by aching cries in a bravura exhibition both powerful and compelling.

Recorded at a private residence in Brooklyn, "Minus Gravity 1" straightaway signals a marvelously controlled performance on piping full-toned sopranino: unhurried and focused, but nonetheless tuneful and freewheeling. "Organica 1" starts in similar vein, with Ware hefting his tenor saxophone in Trane-like grandeur before developing into a passage of regulated over-blowing and frayed blurts. But overall, the piece is more abstracted than its predecessor, switching between tonally centered phrases and expressionistic distortions, guided by some incisive inner logic. On sopranino again for "Minus Gravity 2," the the Chicago date opener, the saxophonist creates a magnificent exposition, starting with legato flowing wave before cresting in an unbroken circular breathed torrent. At times on "Organica 2," it seems the creative process is laid bare, with Ware insistent and almost obsessive in his worrying of motifs until they yield further inspiration. While the occasional lick surfaces, as at the ten-minute mark, this—like the other numbers—convinces as complete in itself, almost entirely devoid of extraneous references.

Either concert alone would have made a satisfying release, so while few are likely to digest both at a single sitting, there is no danger that the appetite of saxophone aficionados will be left unsated by this latest masterful installment in the Ware oeuvre.

Track Listing: Minus Gravity 1; Organica 1; Minus Gravity 2; Organica 2.

Personnel: David S. Ware: sopranino and tenor saxophones.

Title: Organica (Solo Saxophones, Volume 2) | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: AUM Fidelity

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