David S. Ware & Planetary Unknown, Live at Jazzfestival Saalfelden 2011

Steve Holtje

By Steve Holtje

on 07.10.12 in Reviews
Ebbing and flowing organically but always tautly conceived

Born at a 2010 session that produced one of last year’s top jazz albums, this quartet of tenor saxophonist David S. Ware, pianist Cooper-Moore, bassist William Parker and drummer Muhammad Ali was too good to exist only once. This concert differs from the studio album; rather than seven discrete tracks, we get, in one concentrated hour of three long improvisations, the essence of the interaction between these four free-jazz veterans. It’s especially gratifying to hear Cooper-Moore return to piano with such distinctive imagination. The infinitely inventive, always powerful Ware may seem to dominate (his solo after the six-minute mark of track 3 is especially haunting), but there’s plenty of time for the others to shine, not least because they don’t really retreat from the forefront just because the horn’s playing. There’s never a moment where anybody’s on autopilot. This is music of remarkable intensity, ebbing and flowing organically but always tautly conceived.