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David S. Ware Quartet: Renunciation

Renunciation documents this now-defunct quartet’s “farewell performance,” at the 2006 Vision Festival in New York City. As is usual with this group, the most satisfying moments occur when Ware plays to his sidemen’s strengths. “Renunciation Suite II,” for example, provides the freedom pianist Matthew Shipp and bassist William Parker need if they’re to sound their best. Preordained structure is eschewed in favor of an elongated, concentrated burst of energy. Ware’s frenetic linearity is of a mind with Shipp’s. The two burn circles around one another, while Parker slices drummer Guillermo E. Brown’s super-fast tempo into thirds and halves (I’d have liked to hear Parker lock into Brown’s ride cymbal, but that’s not the kind of thing he generally does). Ware is especially powerful on such medium-tempo modal tunes as “Mikuro’s Blues,” where he can express his swinging side and indulge his in-and-out kick, though Shipp’s ham-handed (and lead-footed) accompaniment and Parker’s insecure ostinato mitigate the pleasure. A note: Following the disc’s penultimate tune, co-producers Ware and Steven Joerg include the nearly three-minute ovation, topped by a nameless MC shouting the players’ names. It’s a hideous production decision-a vulgar and self-indulgent gesture that contributes nothing of value.

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