In Praise of David S. Ware: Remembering the Saxophone Pioneer

Categories: Jazz, Tribute

Christian Ducasse, Paris France, 2005
David S. Ware, Saxophone Colossus, Profound Spirit (1949 - 2012) ..Forever / Never to be Forgotten
With the passing of avant-garde visionary behemoth David S. Ware this past October at 62 years too young, a monumental crater was forever ingrained in the jazz lexicon. Ware, in supreme alliance with fellow trailblazers like pianist colossus Matthew Shipp and bassist/composer extraordinaire William Parker, transported downtown New York City jazz and experimentalism into a singularly adventurous "out" stratosphere of spiritual otherworldliness.

The foreboding Ware matched his physical massiveness with an equally huge sound. The New Jersey native--a Sonny Rollins disciple and Cecil Taylor collaborator--was a paint-peeling fire-breather, a prophetic soul-spewing slayer and improvisational warrior. Through the staggering host of his Quartet and solo records released by Steven Joerg's titan AUM Fidelity label, the jazz royalty trifecta of Ware/Shipp/Parker fused the avant with DIY punk ethos, which was ultimately championed by the likes of freedom music enthusiasts like Thurston Moore.

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From 7:30-9:30 this evening, a remembrance and celebration of Ware's life and musical legacy will commence at Saint Peter's Church (619 Lexington Ave. at 54th St.. It will include performances by his peers including Cooper-Moore, Parker, Shipp, Muhammad Ali, Darius Jones, Joe Morris, Warren Smith, Andrew Cyrille, Daniel Carter and Guillermo E. Brown. Furthermore, there will be remembrances, a slideshow, video footage and a short film.

Here, we pay tribute to Ware with some of his landmark recordings and recollections from Shipp and Joerg taken from interviews conducted in 2011 and 2012.

Matthew Shipp: "I was around at the beginning of AUM. I had met (Steven) Joerg when he was at Homestead Records and talked him into signing Ware.

Steven Joerg:"Matt had a duet record with William (Parker) on a Texas punk-rock label which had a distro deal with Dutch East. He was in the office on a regular basis, dropping off presses and saying 'Hey' to the Dutch East salespeople--hustling, basically. So I got to know Matt that way. He knew I put out the (William) Hooker record (Radiation). One day, Matt came in and gave me a David S. Ware Quartet record, Third Ear Recitation. I went home, listened to it, and was completely bowled over."

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