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David S. Ware Quartet: Corridors and Parallels

David S. Ware is one of the few leaders in jazz that doesn’t mess with the formula. Throughout the 1990s, the only way to experience Ware (on record at least) was with the David S. Ware Quartet. He has changed drummers a few times and modified the sound of the unit somewhat, but it was always tenor sax, bass, drums and piano. The formula gets recalculated on his two latest releases, however: the quartet date Corridors & Parallels and the solo-sax recording Live in the Netherlands.

Corridors & Parallels is easily the better-and more unexpected-of Ware’s two new records. Corridors breaks down and redefines Ware’s quartet. Matthew Shipp plays synthesizer instead of piano on the CD, and thus the band’s sound is realigned, venturing into Sun Ra’s spaceways. Sometimes Corridors feels like an experiment in progress more than a cohesive idea, but it is still one of his most exciting and intriguing recordings. What has made Ware’s quartet so great in the past, though, is what keeps them strong through this realignment: master musicianship, emotional impact and the band’s ability to utilize space and silence. The long-developed relationship between Ware, Shipp, bassist William Parker and drummer Guillermo E. Brown enables them to venture easily into new territory.

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