221

David S. Ware: Shakti

Lyn Horton By

Sign in to view read count
David S. Ware: Shakti In connecting composition with improvisation, players inherently manifest their awareness on levels from the technical to the spiritual. If no investment goes into the development of this consciousness, the spark and sense of direction within the music are left behind. Nowhere are these elements more evident than in Shakti, saxophonist David Spencer Ware's studio recording, long-awaited since the dissolution of his well-known quartet.

Ware has grouped together more veteran improvisers for his record, including William Parker on bass, Joe Morris on guitar and Warren Smith on drums. The new quartet has been working together for a year and a half. But it seems more like a lifetime, for their communal flow lacks nothing.

The concept of this recording reflects Ware's spiritual belief system, which propels him through his music. The songs are carefully imagined shades of each aspect of Ware's Yogic experience.

Ware hooks the listener immediately with a persistent tunefulness ("Crossing Samsara"), borne eloquently through his tenor. With the distinction of his electric guitar, Morris is in perfect sync with Ware to magnify the theme's brightness. Parker on bass mirrors both the saxophonist and guitarist with a deeper tone, and Smith clicks the cymbal to preserve the theme's bounce. It takes no time for the group to unwind, not only in the pursuit of parallel lines, but also in pursuit of each member's strengths. This process provides the basic structure for all of the pieces on the recording.

The tenor's behavior never shifts. The instrument's color and temperament is identifiably that of Ware: full of phrases and arpeggios, which are blustery in the mid-register, boastful in the split and low tones, and sometimes stringent to the highest-pitched squeal ("Namah"). Morris and Parker tend to echo Ware ("Nataraj") so softly that Ware can speak through his horn without competing. Smith consistently maintains the backdrop, creating an incessant flicker on the cymbals, tapping dryly on or snapping rapidly at the drums with sticks. And the the bass drum comes through to provide contrast with the sound character of the other constituents of the drum set ("Shakti: Durga").

When each member comes to the forefront to solo ("Nataraj"), the music remains intense in developing the transition to the next player's space, if not to the whole group's re-bonding. Morris responsively attends to every detail on his guitar—in fingering ("Antidromic," "Shakti: Kali"), as well as tempo and volume. Parker assiduously employs pizzicatos on the bass' thoroughly resonant strings ("Nataraj"), or uninhibitedly bows ("Namah," "Antidromic") his way around and through Ware's generous horn blowing. In the meantime, Morris plows his own narrower fields. Frequently, these vastly dissimilar string components soften the edge of the music; Ware's intro on the kalimba does the same ("Namah"). Smith plays more percussively than rhythmically, intent on establishing a continuous, though variable, atmosphere.

In the last track, "Shakti: Durga, Devi, Kali," Ware communicates clearly and mindfully how Shakti imbues his spirit in the way the primary musical theme is stated and transformed through a tangent of arpeggios, and a brief exploration of high-pitched phraseology. That he personifies this inexplicable "divine evolutionary force" is a gift to all.


Track Listing: Crossing Samsara; Nataraj; Reflection; Namah; Antidromic; Shakti: Durga, Devi, Kali.

Personnel: David S. Ware: tenor saxophone, kalimba; Joe Morris: guitar, percussion; William Parker: bass; Warren Smith: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: AUM Fidelity | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Pathways" CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by James Nadal
Published: February 29, 2016
Read "Joyride" CD/LP/Track Review Joyride
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Dyad Plays Jazz Arias" CD/LP/Track Review Dyad Plays Jazz Arias
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Under the Influence" CD/LP/Track Review Under the Influence
by Doug Collette
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "Do Right" CD/LP/Track Review Do Right
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 28, 2016
Read "The Other Shore" CD/LP/Track Review The Other Shore
by John Sharpe
Published: September 26, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!