David S. Ware

Flight of I

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This is the final recording of the David S. Ware Quartet with drummer Marc Edwards, who would be replaced by Whit Dickey, who would be replaced later by Susie Ibarra. What is most notable about Flight of I is how Ware, completely oblivious to his critics, turned in his straightest ever recording, though no one could remotely call it "inside." The disc opens with one of Ware's compositions, "Aquarian Sound," which showcases the stunning complexity and beauty of Matthew Shipp's pianism. Opening with a series of vamps and augmented minor chords, he lays an opening ground for Ware to join the band. As bassist William Parker comes along the bottom floor of the beat, Ware enters with his five part ostinato before moving off into one of his high-wire broad-toned solos. The break is brief and ushers in Shipp's solo, which is the body and soul of the tune. Here Shipp builds one harmonic bridge after another, knotting them together with blocks of arpeggios that move along the perimeter of the empty intervals and stamps out territory within them. One of the other wonders of this album is Ware's employment of standards, here in the shape of the lovely "Yesterdays" by Jerome Kern and Harry Warren's "There Will Never Be Another You." Again, with Shipp as a foundation point and Parker's willingness to restructure the meter, Ware can take the melody to its highest point and split it like lightning down the middle without losing its vulnerability or tenderness. The title track is a model study in the vein of mid-period Coltrane with McCoy Tyner. A series of chords are placed along a line, an intervallic series sketched and the construction of harmonic and contrapuntal statements begins. Once the seams are reached, the entire universe blows apart in ribbons of sound. There is plenty of magic here, and more mystery (check out the riveting arabesques on the closer "Infi-Rythms #1"), to be discovered by anyone willing to take a chance on one of the most original tenor players in free jazz.

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