Recorded in 1994 and issued in 1995, David S. Ware was still working out the language of his quartet on this outing. With mates William Parker and Matthew Shipp, Ware employed Whit Dickey on drums that came from Charles Gayle's band. And, while all of Ware's records, except Flight of I, are involved with the development of improvisation within free jazz, Cryptology reveals more than the others how this aesthetic was developing itself. It is raw, unwavering, and intense almost beyond measure. The muscular nature of Ware's playing as it developed from Albert Ayler and John Coltrane hadn't found its lyrical dimension yet. He was still swinging for the fences and his sidemen, stellar improvisers in their own right were only too happy to accommodate. There are six selections here, all of them in a sense of a piece. But there are moments of real distinction, among them "Direction: Pleiades" with its Nuevo swing and blues framework, set by Shipp, who keeps the entire things moving and on the borderline with his large chords ringing against Parker's bass in the lower-middle register and upper-lower register of the piano. There is the temptation -- which he indulges -- to play large-bodied chords in threes and fours as if he is creating intervals in response to Ware's over-the-top blowing. On "Dinosauria" it's Parker who goes head to head with Ware, challenging his rhythmic drive and turning the notion of attack at all costs freedom into a textured balance of wailing in your face screeching and multi-limbed, textural modes. This is a Ware album that is not for the faint of heart, but then none of them are. He is reaching out here for the language that would become his alone in a very short time, and it's coming together nicely, despite the rough edges.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek