Saturday, January 17, 2009
David S. Ware Needs a Kidney
I happened upon David S. Ware's name in the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings as I was sitting on the john this evening. I was intrigued by the entry on his album Freedom Suite. Jazz has a pretty high status among music genres, but jazz artists have always felt a little inferior to classical musicians, and the latter had returned the favor. Jazz composition is done mostly on the fly, and doesn't have the kind of architectural planning that goes into, say, Beethoven's violin concerto.
With the obvious exception of Duke Ellington, who did approach the kind of composition that characterizes classical music, most good jazz comes in short bursts. There have been attempts to create classical-like compositions in jazz. Coltrane's A Love Supreme is a good example. But this is mostly a mistake. Good jazz songs get recorded over and over. But how many jazz artists have tried to recreate A Love Supreme? It just doesn't work that way.
Or it doesn't work that way most of the time. Sonny Rollins who, frankly, isn't known for his composing, produced Freedom Suite, a nearly twenty minute opus that plays with a number of themes and might be conceived as a concerto. But it's way too sketchy for that. It makes for a long piece on a good album.
David S. Ware decided to treat it as a classical composition and produced his own Freedom Suite. It is very worth listening to. Here is a cut:
I just learned that Ware is in ill-health and needs a kidney. I hope someone comes forward. I seem to be the wrong blood type, which lets me off the hook and maybe dooms my soul. Anyway, this is a great jazzman and deserves our hope and love. Check out the clip above and, if it interests you do what I did: buy it.