Sunday, July 12, 2009

David S. Ware - Live in Vilnius (No Business, 2009)

With David S. Ware on the DL for a little while while he recovers from successful kidney transplant surgery, this excellent live album serves as a reminder of what a protean force he is in the world of jazz. This album was recorded during his final tour with the quartet that he had led for the past decade, with Ware on tenor saxophone, Matthew Shipp on piano, William Parker on bass and Guillermo E. Brown on drums. "Ganesh Sound" opens the album with a darkly spiritual theme that builds to the unflagging intensity that this band was famous for. Never shrieking or pounding for the sake of making a racket, the band uses volume and energy as a tool to present its focused and deeply considered music. "Theme of the Ages" has an exploratory feel that leads to a drum solo from Brown that is nimble and subtle. Ware's return is raw and beautiful, pushing the music to new and majestic heights. "Mikuro's Blues" features a beautiful bass solo from William Parker, strong and elastic, it lays the foundation for the band when they enter and Ware leads the group on a deeply emotional free-bop performance. "The Stargazers" is the centerpiece of the set, with an epic performance. There is a ten minute introduction from the trio with Ware laying out. Building from a quiet start, the music builds upon itself as Shipp moves to the low end of the keyboard sending out waves of music like a sonar operator plumbing the depths of the sea. When Ware finally enters at the ten minute mark, it is with a rush of energy that is truly galvanizing. His wrenching saxophone sound is awesome in its vitality. This was a wonderful album, full of deeply emotional playing from all involved. This group was much loved during their tenure and it is easy to see why. Hopefully David S. Ware will recover fully and soon from his recent surgery so he can continue to spread his message of peace and understanding through music like he did in this wonderful concert.
Live in Vilnuis - No Business Records

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