Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » David S. Ware: Shakti

500

David S. Ware: Shakti

By

Sign in to view read count
David S. Ware: Shakti
Shakti is the triumphant return of tenor saxophonist David S. Ware. His first studio recording since 2003's Threads (Thirsty Ear), this album marks the recorded debut of his first working group since he disbanded his famously prolific quartet of 1989-2006. An acknowledged master of the tenor saxophone, Ware's influence spans his seminal days in the seventies loft-era to the early Downtown scene, where his exuberant performances encouraged a new generation to investigate the expressive potential of free jazz.

His 23rd release as a leader, Shakti reveals Ware's deepening interest in Eastern philosophy and religion, exemplified by the exotic kalimba introduction to "Namah." Other than a reworking of "Antidromic" from his first AUM Fidelity album, 1997's Wisdom of Uncertainty, this session consists of all new pieces. Conceived around folk-like themes and lyrical fragments, these expansive tunes showcase a darkly poetic side of Ware's strident expressionism.

With a mixture of sublime restraint and impassioned yearning, Ware channels his renowned volcanic intensity, concentrating his ecstatic detours and excessive pyrotechnics into a more nuanced approach. Although his circuitous cadences still brim with unfettered altissimo cries, braying multiphonics and coruscating lower register drones, they are tempered by an architectural sensibility that provides incisive focus.

Joined by assiduous bassist William Parker, Ware finds accord in two new ensemble mates, iconic guitarist Joe Morris and legendary drummer Warren Smith. Morris is one of today's most innovative and distinctive guitar stylists, a singular artist with an unparalleled approach and technique. Smith's career dates back to his seminal loft-era collaborations with such visionary avant gardists as Sam Rivers and Muhal Richard Abrams.

Morris's first recording session with Ware reveals him to be a brilliant front-line foil for the master saxophonist. Morris's spiky, percolating phrases and bright, round tone create a brilliant contrast to Ware's vociferous linearity and dark, burnished timbre. Ware's effusive commentary dominates the proceedings, but Morris's unique contributions, such as his meticulously metered motifs on "Nataraj" or his spitfire needling on "Antidromic," are equally impressive.

While no contemporary rhythm pairing can compare to Parker's clairvoyant work with drummer Hamid Drake, Parker's conversational interplay with Smith yields a malleable pan-African sensibility perfectly attuned to Ware's aesthetic. Their pliant dialogue provides a fluid undercurrent of forward momentum that gracefully modulates tempos and meters. Their sensitive rapport on "Reflection" is supple, while "Nataraj" demonstrates their ability to maintain a hypnotic groove even in the throes of deep abstraction.

Ware presents another aspect of his artistry here, one whose seeds were planted early on with the archival 1999 studio recording BalladWare (Thirsty Ear, 2006). A refreshingly lyrical and emotionally committed performance by masterful improvisers, Shakti ebbs with soulful intensity and inspired interplay, making this one of the most compelling, yet accessible, recordings of Ware's career.

Track Listing

Crossing Samsara; Nataraj; Reflection; Namah; Antidromic; Shakti.

Personnel

David S. Ware
saxophone, tenor

David S. Ware: tenor saxophone and kalimba (4); Joe Morris: guitar and percussion (4); William Parker: bass; Warren Smith: drums and percussion.

Album information

Title: Shakti | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: AUM Fidelity


< Previous
Libra

Comments

Tags


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

More

Hills & Valleys
Superlocrian
Stick Together
Behn Gillece
Circles
Friends & Neighbors
Unknown Rivers
Luke Stewart Silt Trio

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.