David S. Ware Quartet
For quite a while now some have predicted a free-jazz/postpunk crossover--and why not? If there's one thing noise rockers and grunge-ophiles like it's the unleashed energy and sheer power of overdriven musical machines--all part and parcel of full-tilt free-blown jazz, where instrumentalists test the limits of their tools as a matter of course. Tenor saxophonist David S. Ware may be the first to fully realize this crossover potential--he's already had a lead review in Rolling Stone and secured a deal with the rock label Homestead Records. Ware came to the vanguard jazz world's attention as a member of pianist Cecil Taylor's mid-70s unit; later in that decade he contributed his big tenor tone to a couple of great records by percussionist Andrew Cyrille's quartet Maono, Metamusician's Stomp and Special People (both on Soul Note). But it wasn't until 1988, when he released Passage to Music (Silkheart), that Ware really began to cultivate the concept that's led to his second Homestead disc, the brand-new Dao. Over these last eight years he's switched drummers (from fellow ex-Taylorite Marc Edwards to the fiery young Whit Dicky), put out records on Silkheart and DIW, and consolidated the quartet's sound into an awesome 60s-style incendiary device. With William Parker--the most prolific New York bassist in American free jazz and a great innovator in his own right--and incisive, inventive pianist Matthew Shipp, the quartet revels in sound extremism, whether it's burning through standards like "There Will Never Be Another You," "Autumn Leaves," and "Canadian Sunset" or exploding Ware's own terse, repeating themes. If you were one of the unfortunate who heard the saxist a couple of years ago with a pickup band at the Belmont Hotel, don't judge him by that outing--his quartet is a thoroughly together group. This concert should be a perfect place to test the viability of first-class energy jazz in a rock context. (In the name of full disclosure, this writer books jazz at the Empty Bottle on Wednesdays, though he had no part in the concert at hand.) Friday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 276-3600. JOHN CORBETT
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Galinsky.