Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

276

David S. Ware: Saturnian (Solo Saxophones, Volume One)

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
There is always a tinge of soul-baring in solo performance on a single line instrument like the saxophone, when stripped of the musical support customarily handled by an ensemble. David S. Ware's story only accentuates that feeling. Rushed into print as a limited edition release of 1500, Saturnian documents Ware's first public showing since his kidney transplant, at an October 2009 solo appearance. Though more often sighted at the helm of a quartet, with a restyled foursome onboard for his critically lauded Shakti (Aum Fidelity, 2009), this is nonetheless Ware's second solo disc, after Live in the Netherlands (Splasch, 2001), and he shows himself no stranger to lone performance, alluding to the precedent of his solitary practice regime in the liners.

All three selections in the 39-minute program are fully improvised, stream-of-consciousness vehicles, with the reed player utilizing a different horn on each. Ware launches "Methone" on the saxello, essentially a Bb soprano saxophone with an upturned bell, taking a measured stance and essaying building block phrases. He then subjects these phrases to variation and motivic development. Despite occasional multiphonic overtones, he generally sticks to conventional timbres, albeit with a slightly nasal delivery. Though not an overly melodic player, Ware still sporadically veers into a gruff lyricism, spiraling well-turned phrases up through the registers before discarding them in favor of his next fancy. Essentially the same approach imbues "Pallene," resulting in a similar searching feel. Here, though, Ware starts off in more abstract fashion, with barking yelps and muffled cries, this time on stritch, a straight alto variant championed by Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

It's not until the final "Anthe," where Ware unleashes his tenor saxophone, that his familiar huge and all-embracing tone holds court. Although tentative at first, as if testing the ground, Ware is soon glorying in the full range of the horn, exploring then contrasting gut wrenching depth charges with passages of extended whistling falsetto. This cycle of dramatic alternations becomes the dominant theme, with the upper partials an integral part of the conception, rather than a showy effect. Ware closes on a wonderfully sustained legato high note sequence, with the harmonics almost suggesting an eerie second voice. There is something poignant in the cover depiction of a lone figure seated on the stage, but if the physical presence intimates vulnerability, there is none apparent in the music.

Track Listing: Methone; Pallene; Anthe.

Personnel: David S. Ware: saxello, stritch, tenor saxophone.

Title: Saturnian (Solo Saxophones, Volume One) | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: AUM Fidelity


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read "Undertaker Please Drive Slow" CD/LP/Track Review Undertaker Please Drive Slow
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Blind Curves and Box Canyons" CD/LP/Track Review Blind Curves and Box Canyons
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 4, 2017
Read "Six Easy Pieces" CD/LP/Track Review Six Easy Pieces
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "Instinct" CD/LP/Track Review Instinct
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 12, 2017
Read "Road to Forever" CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Playing the 60s" CD/LP/Track Review Playing the 60s
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 19, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor