Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The David S. Ware Quartets

  • Live in the World [Thirsty Ear, 2005] A-

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Live in the World [Thirsty Ear, 2005]
It's a fine cosmic joke, the way radical sounds turn comforting as they grow old. I've played these three CDs for atmosphere during a Vermont retreat, for solace after a disturbing afternoon with my demented 90-year-old dad--for the organic integrity of live free, for chaos rendered beautiful. Tune in anywhere except the one bass solo per disc that William Parker gets for holding the world together and you'll hear saxophonist Ware or perhaps pianist Matthew Shipp or briefly one of the three drummers creating music that eschews the signposts, anchors, and trivial pleasures pop fans can't and shouldn't do without. Shipp is a lovely man and a wide-ranging artist, but in no other context is he so solid, and Ware's ideas flow nonstop. After all these years it's clear that he commands one of the great sounds in tenor sax history, very nearly on a par with Rollins, Coltrane, Webster--huge yet lyrical, and so loose. I prefer disc two for Hamid Drake, who drives harder than Susie Ibarra or Guillermo Brown. I recommend "Aquarian Sound" Parker and all, "Part Two" of Freedom Suite, and, definitely, "The Way We Were." A-