This is one of David S. Ware's most notorious, yet well-developed and executed recordings. Following Flight Of I, Ware assembled his quartet -- Matthew Shipp, piano; William Parker, bass; Whit Dickey, drums -- and proceeded to lay down his own music, as well as a number of startling covers. The disc kicks off with one of two versions of "Autumn Leaves," both completely different from one another. The first has Shipp playing the changes straight by the book with no solo and Parker playing arco, except for his plucked solo. Dickey strides the rhythmic changes and fills in the accents on Ware's deep blowing that articulates the melody while undoing it and filling in all the half tones around it. Next up is a furious version of Sonny Rollins' "East Broadway Ruin Down," where Ware takes Rollins' melody and charges it up the entire scale at each turnaround. Parker's pizzicato here is literally stunning as he matches Ware's intensity bar for bar while Shipp lays out the first half, and it's up to Dickey to hold the rhythm itself as a guidepost for the other two. In the middle section Ware adds a series of minor sixths and thirds that bore a hole through the harmonic angle as Shipp enters with a series of staccato phrases and legato runs, and highlights the delicate shifts in Rollins open-chorded architecture. Ware's own compositions, such as the title track and "The Chase," are arpegiattic studies for ensemble, the lines he plays are perforated and squeal out of that huge, across-the-board tone of his, and are laid upon the ensemble, who swing for the fences with him. The cover of "Angel Eyes" has Ware taking apart the major fourth melody and keying in a solo based on minor thirds and subtle shifting intervallic exchanges between he and Shipp. And, finally, on the closer, the other version of "Autumn Leaves," the entire piece is different. Shipp plays freely altering dynamics throughout as Ware, who begins the piece playing solo, sublimates himself periodically into Shipp's mysteriously tender play on the changes, as Parker bows softly in the foreground. It is completely different, yet just as compelling as the first version. This is truly a record that should be studied for decades to come.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek