Matthew Shipp / William Parker / Guillermo E. Brown - "The Trio Plays Ware"
William Parker & The Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra - "Spontaneous"
David S. Ware - "Live In The Netherlands"
- Splasc(H)

The glue that binds this set of releases are two masters: David S. Ware and William Parker. The Trio [as they like to be spelled with a capital T] is really a tribute record to David S. Ware. Pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist William Parker and percussionist Guillermo E. Brown play David S. Ware compositions. All of these players have played with Ware throughout various points of his career. The record is a strong indication of just what a strong influence Ware was on this particular trio. The sound of the trio minus Ware is something else altogether. It is not bare by any means. Rather, the sound of David's horn is filled to the brim by the Shipp-Parker axis. The rhythm section is pounding [literally], and Shipp spells out his lines with grace, but also with a lot of force. It is actually Shipp that pounds the piano to give the trio the flow that it comes out with. The surprise is that the Trio surprises the listeners, especially those that are familiar with these musicians' work with Ware. Overall, "The Trio Plays Ware" is a stunning session in its pure uniqueness. William Parker's work within his Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra is another matter altogether. Over the course of the last decade, this orchestra has evolved, developed and morphed itself into something quite unique. On "Spontaneous", bassist and composer William Parker chooses two themes - pure out improvisation on "Spontaneous Flowers", and the music of Charles Mingus on "Spontaneous Mingus". The first composition features some powerful soloing from clarinet player Charles Waters, along with trumpet player Matt Lavelle. The half-an-hour long composition moves very quickly from one theme to the next, never giving the listener any time to guess what may happen next. The next always arrives too fast. "Spontaneous Mingus" is Parker's take on the music of Charles Mingus. He never really copies any of Mingus's music outright, but rather, takes his themes and blows them up into a stunning 30 minute composition. Trombonist Masahiko Kono and trumpet player Roy Campbell have very strong dueling solos inside of this piece. The piece itself is a mix of cacophony, jazz, composition and the blues. It reminds me the most of march music - the sort of music march bands play. The ears never explode due to over-powering solos from various players, as these ease off, and new sections come out of the blue. With "Spontaneous", William Parker has once again proven he is just as great a composer, as he is a player. The weakest link in this trio of records is David S. Ware's solo session "Live in The Netherlands". Recorded live at the Zuid-Nederlands Jazz Festival in 1997, this session disappoints in its lack of ideas for a solo performance. Yes, I do believe that a solo performer should have some ideas (or concepts, at least) before hitting the stage. These ideas seem to be lacking during this particular Ware recital. I know he's got the chops and I know Ware has all the technique in the world, but his blowing seems to be going nowhere throughout this brief 40-minute performance. There are a few interesting passages, such as the shronking mid-way through "5th Dimensional", but these are too few in between. What this session needed was more thought-out ideas and concepts. We can only hope someday in the future, we'll get a better solo David S. Ware record than "Live in The Netherlands". I know Ware can deliver!

Tom Sekowski

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