David S. Ware & Matthew Shipp Duo – Live In Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004 (2016)

Share this:

Before making a name as a leader, Matthew Shipp’s prime achievement was his memorable seventeen year stint as the pianist in David S. Ware’s quartet. The late saxophonist Ware, who passed away in 2012, knew and loved what he had in Shipp and on a handful of occasions performed with Shipp as a duo of equals. In recent years we’ve gotten to hear Shipp record in several duos, especially with Ivo Perelman, but not with his old mentor Ware. That is, until now.

Live In Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004 (now on sale through AUM Fidelity) is the second of AUM’s David S. Ware’s Archive series. This is also the first and possibly the only well-recorded document of the David S. Ware & Matthew Shipp Duo to emerge, so that alone makes this release vital for many fans of contemporary avant-garde jazz. Culled from a performance in Italy on September 5, 2004, Shipp had by this time been in Ware’s quartet for some fifteen years and that ensemble had by then had long since been widely regarded by NYC critics as “the best small band in jazz today.” (Gary Giddens). But with this highly improvisational quartet — like all successful free jazz ensembles — it comes down to individual interactions; Sant’Anna Arresi provides a rare insight into this game within the game.

It’s a game Ware and Shipp play so well, because they both have an understanding of harmony at a practical level that’s deeply embedded in their respective DNAs. As a result, there’s a certain logical movement running through the forty-one minute “Tao Flow” two-part suite.

Ware squalls and pleads, digging deep with a passion that astonishes in unwavering intensity and he never seems to run out of tactics. Shipp’s unmatched ability to alternately follow and lead a sax foil by blurring the lines between comping and co-leading is on full display here. He carefully modulates the flow, using repeating figures for punctuation marks, not complete sentences and writes mini-melodies to serve as launching pads for Ware’s next leg in his long adventure.

“Encore” puts a bow on this tête–à–tête with an exchange of fours, including Ware’s jaunty reference to “Wade In The Water.”

David S. Ware left quite a legacy during his lifetime and thanks to AUM Fidelity, continues to leave behind a legacy posthumously. Live In Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004 does that while furthering the living legacy of Matthew Shipp.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
Share this:
Close