The first recorded appearance of drummer Susie Ibarra with the David S. Ware Quartet is an auspicious one to be sure. Her contrasting style with former drummer Whit Dickey is one of both physicality and fluidity. Ibarra is a far more physical drummer than Dickey is, and is given to deep rhythmic grooves that produce dance-like flourishes in her accents and fills. How that affects the band is obvious from the opening bars of "Acclimation," where her snare and cymbal work set the pace for Ware, who enters singing. Shipp carries in a seriously blues-inflected chordal series of minor thirds and sixths, and Parker is happier than a clam, as his full physical manner of playing is given depth and breadth here. The band charges Ware's compositions (yes compositions), cornering the tiger in them, only to let it loose again in order to chase it down. There is a brightness and fullness in Ibarra's approach that offers Ware more room to fluctuate in his legato phrasing, turning it over and moving through a series of obligato and even ostinatos in his melodic workups and in his solos -- check the long breaks in "Utopic" and "Continuum." Likewise, Shipp is free to rumble around in the deep registers of the piano he so enjoys, as he does on the opener and "Antidromic." His blocky style is far more fluid on this recording, as it shifts its right hands maneuvers with Ibarra's angular accents and around the kit flails and rolls -- check her solo in "Utopic." This is a record that sings; its song is a wild and wooly one to be sure, but it is a giant leap compositionally for Ware, and for the ensemble with its new drummer.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek