David S. Ware: Planetary Unknown CD (Ltd. Edition CD, in deluxe 6-panel digipak)
"“Unified by shared histories, the quartet's inspired interplay yields passages of spontaneous invention that are staggering in their complexity and intuitive concordance, upholding Ware's transcendental spirituality with palpable conviction. Expounding on the diverse lineage of post-war free jazz traditions with unbridled passion and attentive congeniality, Planetary Unknown is a tour de force of free improvisation from four masters of the form.”
—Troy Collins, All About Jazz
“Immediately the collective force of this stellar group kicks in, evolving dynamic forms that revitalize yet again the language of free jazz. Cecil Taylor once observed that John Coltrane’s tone was beautiful because it was functional, meaning that it was always involved in actually saying something, never an empty display of his formidable technique. Such functional beauty is the business of this quartet.” —Julian Cowley, The Wire
“David S. Ware plays with such solemn power and majesty that his soloing begs comparisons to mountains or waterfalls. In fact, it’s hard to avoid ecological metaphors when discussing his latest album, Planetary Unknown, so completely do Ware, pianist Cooper-Moore, bassist William Parker, and drummer Muhammad Ali create their own world of sound, a landscape in which one can sense the presence of the divine in much the same way that Walden inspired Thoreau or Yosemite did John Muir.” —Ed Hazell, Point Of Departure
Planetary Unknown documents an epic occurrence, with majestic circles of creative life arcing together and synchronizing anew. The web of musical, personal and spiritual connections that brought these men together at that particular time and place is like a modern jazz parable that proclaims: all good things come to those who wait. Although they had never worked together as a group, the bond between these men—four scene-setting musicians in whose work seeds planted by John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Sun Ra, Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor can be heard to thrive and blossom—indeed flows long and deep.
David S. Ware and Cooper-Moore shared deeply formative years in Boston, where they played music together all day, every day, until in 1973 the pull of New York's jazz scene (and an invitation from Sonny Rollins for their group Apogee to open for him at the Village Vanguard) called them home. Their work together from that time eventually culminated in the essential 1977 Birth of a Being recordings (definitively remixed, and released in expanded form by AUM in 2015). Though they remained dear friends for the duration, this 2010 session is the first time they had played together in 30 years. William Parker had been an integral & wholly devoted component of Ware's music for over two decades, with eighteen years of artistic refinement and growth together in the David S. Ware Quartet. Parker also continues to share a rich and extensive history of projects with Cooper-Moore. This equally impressive collaboration is featured on recordings by his In Order To Survive, Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra and Organ Quartet ensembles. All of these men were vibrant young participants in the NYC loft jazz scene, and Ware & Parker would spend extended time within different iterations of the Cecil Taylor Unit.
Muhammad Ali, an early loft regular and drummer on Albert Ayler's Music Is The Healing Force of the Universe and Alan Shorter's Orgasm, had already relocated to Paris with Frank Wright, when, in 1976, Cecil Taylor's Unit came to town. Ware met Ali on that visit, and both men made a mental note that one day they would play together. Ali's presence here is a direct blood-link back to the birth of free music in America – it was his brother, Rashied Ali, who replaced Elvin Jones in the John Coltrane Quartet and with whom Coltrane recorded Interstellar Space, their catalytic saxophone/percussion duo album. This fraternal inheritance is respectfully acknowledged here in Ware and Ali's “Duality Is One”. This band / recording returned the pioneering Ali to the forefront of improvised music after nearly 30 years away from the recording studio. From the liner notes, Ware recalls, “Muhammad was already playing when I walked into the studio. I heard him live for the first time at that moment and thought, man, he is carrying the whole history of jazz drums in his playing. The last 100 years of jazz, there was our rehearsal [for this record]."
The group was brought together in order to be the new flagship David S. Ware quartet, but tellingly Ware insisted that each of their names be given equal billing on this recording. Since recovering from his kidney transplant in 2009, every performance and recording he did was devoted to spontaneous form – fully improvised, trusting in the collective intuition and highly refined skills that he and his compatriots possessed in full. The pieces here are presented in the order in which they were channeled. "Passage Wudang" was indeed the very first this group ever played / created at this magnificent session."
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