David S. Ware Quartet – Freedom Suite I. (2002)

From the album Freedom Suite by David S. Ware Quartet. Recorded on July 13, 2002 at Systems Two Studio, Brooklyn.

Composed by Sonny Rollins, arranged by David S. Ware.
David S. Ware – tenor sax
Matthew Shipp – piano
William Parker – bass
Guillermo E. Brown – drums

Recorded by Jim Anderson

Tracks on album: Freedom Suite Movement 1 / Interlude / Freedom Suite Movement 2 / Freedom Suite Movement 3

Sonny Rollin’s Freedom Suite (first issued on the Riverside album of the same name) is a protest jazz masterpiece, albeit one relegated to a back seat behind works by Charles Mingus, Max Roach, and even John Coltrane by some critics. There are several reasons for this. Despite being inspired by Rollins’ first-hand experience of housing discrimination in New York, it was recorded in early 1958, and released before the Civil Rights Movement reached critical mass nationally.

The upshot is that “The Freedom Suite” is a natural, if overlooked reservoir for tenor saxophonists of David S. Ware’s generation. Obviously Ware has long been well aware of the piece, having studied with Rollins before his mid-70s emergence. Yet it is somewhat surprising for Ware to give the piece a CD length reading, as so little of Rollins’ influence is detectable even in Ware’s earliest recordings (the notable exception being his take on Kurt Weill’s “My Ship” on drummer Andrew Cyrille’s 1978 Black Saint album Metamusician’s Stomp). Instead, Ware quickly established a sound extrapolating the Fire Music nexus of spiritual and visceral intensities, placing little to no stock in Rollins’ romanticism, humour, and interest in pop music. – Bill Shoemaker, The Wire [source]

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