David S. Ware

Live in the Netherlands

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By any definition, David S. Ware has to be counted among the giants on his horn. That is a major reason why this short, intense, and rare live solo performance is an important document. Through his many small-group recordings, Ware has demonstrated an ability to absorb many of the deeply emotional and even spiritual qualities of the playing of John Coltrane, and to add a unique, personal dimension. Solo free improvisation, though, requires different qualities than group work, even within the radical genre of the so-called avant-garde or creative free improvisational aesthetic. This short performance proves once again, in case anyone forgets, that Ware has mostly mastered the technical aspects of his horn, and that he has a wide, though sometimes stark, imagination. Yet, somehow there is a missing element, perhaps described as a degree of loneliness, perhaps a narrowness, to these four solo exhibitions, something that some others (including, for example, saxophonist Charles Gayle) have found ways to overcome in solo recitals. A strong sense of melodic or structural development, for example, is largely missing from these self-contained explorations. As a result, while this recording will satisfy many of Ware's fans, in some ways it is ultimately a flawed document, and one not likely to stand the test of time as readily as much of his other work. Those looking for an introduction to this great saxophonist's work should look elsewhere.

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