Reviews - DAVID S. WARE Quartet.. Surrendered (Columbia CK63816 )......AUM Fidelity home
CD Magazine (UK)
Words used to describe David S.Ware's music, like 'adventurous' and 'avant-garde', seem designed to frighten off a potential audience who would be totally bewitched by such a rich and expressive music. Perhaps it is an indication of the conservatism of today's jazz scene that a musician who expresses something personal and challenging is described in these terms. Ware's music certainly has its roots in the radical experiments carried out by John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman and he has managed to build on their open-mindedness and idealism without becoming affected by the greed and cynicism of the eighties. The resulting music is intensely powerful, sure of its artistic goals and unusually authoritative. This is not being 'avant-garde' but simply what all great musicians aim for.
much of the eighties driving a cab and, as he recently described 'slowing
his music down', to investigate its technical and spiritual roots. He
is never happy to repeat worn phrases but keeps the music fresh by constantly
pushing it into surprising areas and bouncing ideas off the other members
of his group. His playing is versatile enough to include the keening lyricism
of 'Peace Celestial' and wild outbursts on a tune like 'African Drums'
the latter been driven by tremendously powerful grooves from the rhythm
section. Indeed Ware is so keen on his quartet that he refuses to play
without them and who can blame him. Matthew Shipp seems perfectly in tune
with his leader's aesthetic and the creative energy between them is one
of the highlights of this totally invigorating set.
STRANGER (Seattle, WA Weekly) June 15, 2000:
"Peace Celestial" is aptly titled - it's a gently flowing, almost meditational improvisation on a descending chord progression. It twists and turns in sometimes unexpected directions, yet always maintains its quietly ecstatic, calm spirituality. The boppish "Sweet Georgia Bright" refers to "Sweet Georgia Brown" and the Thelonious Monk original that built on it, "Bright Mississippi." "Theme of Ages" is more aggressive, while the title track again works magic with a descending chord progression, this time with more density and rhythmic drive (Brown swings like mad on a semi-Latin beat).
The muscular "Glorified Calypso" suggests calypso imbued with the raw power of gospel, and reminds that Ware was once mentored by the jazz calypso master Sonny Rollins. The lengthy "African Drums" rides a triple-meter modal groove reminiscent in both rhythm and chordal outline of John Coltrane's reconstruction of "My Favorite Things," yet without sounding derivative. As much as ever, Ware displays a distinctive voice on this album, his burly momentum and tart tone juggernaut-like in their implacable intensity.
Challenging to mainstream jazz listeners yet building on materials they can relate to, this disc finds Ware and his cohorts reaching out to a broader audience without compromising their musical integrity in the least. -Steve Holtje Senior Writer, Jazz
Here, Ware continues to work with his esteemed associates, - pianist Matthew Shipp and bassist William Parker while drummer Guillermo E. Brown replaces Susie Ibarra in the band as matters get off to a rousing and somewhat enthusiastic start with the opener, "Peace Celestial". On this piece, Ware blows soul-searching lines amid Shipp's - touching -and thoroughly melodic chord progressions as this composition rekindles some of the motifs, Pharoah Sanders and Coltrane were exploring during their collaboration. Yet, from the onset it becomes rather clear that Ware and company have offset their ordinarily combustible or high-octane free-jazz approach with compositions that contain a bit more structure amid slightly temperate group dialogue and Wares often-fiery sense of the dynamic. Again, the band's approach is a bit less volcanic as they pursue radiant lyricism and swinging rhythms on saxophonist Charles Lloyd's "Sweet Georgia Bright", featuring Ware's enigmatic spirit and unruffled raw power. The musicians continue their plight on "Theme Of Ages" where Ware blows down the roof atop Shipp's swirling chord clusters and probing, underlying themes while Parker and Brown provide hearty and sympathetic support throughout!
The crowning highlight of this fine recording is the band's 16-minute rendition of Beaver Harris' composition, "African Drums" which boasts a bouncy and enticingly melodic theme driven by an altogether continuous flow. Without a doubt, this piece serves as a near-perfect vehicle for Ware's husky, buzz-saw style of execution as the saxophonist works his cavernous lower registers intermingled with upper register peaks. Hence, this performance alone provides insight into the artist's distinctive craft. All in all, Surrendered might truly represent one of Ware's finest recordings to date as no two songs sound alike which makes for a divergent and noteworthy mix while Steven Joerg's sharp and insightful production only enhances the overall scenario. In any event, if you've been a bit skittish or reluctant to delve into David S. Ware's musical world, Surrendered might signify an appropriate place to start. * * * * (out of * * * * *) - Glenn Astarita