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David S. Ware: Rapturous Sound

David S. Ware wasn’t surprised for a moment. Last year, he knew something was coming on; he just didn’t know how it would manifest. Once, the feeling was so strong he shared it with his students. Then, just a week later, it happened. The tenor saxophonist became the first artist recruited by recently installed Columbia Creative Consultant Branford Marsalis. This bold number one pick couldn’t defy the conventional wisdom more. The 49 year-old Ware epitomizes the uncompromising avant-garde jazz artist, committed to pursuing a music of deep, spiritual meaning through the most intensely direct means available, regardless of the obscurity and neglect it may entail.

In this regard, Ware has his dues covered for years to come. After a promising first few years on the international scene in the mid to late ’70s-playing with Cecil Taylor and Andrew Cyrille’s Maono, leading a couple of dates for small European labels-Reagan’s ’80s handed him a seven-year drought with no recordings and few gigs. Yet, Ware stuck to his principles, and to his regimen of meditation, yoga, and practice, until the tide turned his way. Beginning in ’87, Ware began a steady production of palpably passionate albums, initially for Silkheart and DIW (’91’s flight of i was part of Columbia’s short-lived licensing pact with the Japanese label).

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