David S. Ware, The Freedom Suite

Christopher Porter

By Christopher Porter

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
The fierce, searing sound of hard-won freedom.

Sonny Rollins wrote and recorded "The Freedom Suite" in 1958 with drummer Max Roach and bassist Oscar Pettiford. The piece grew out of Rollins's realization that no matter how much acclaim he had received, he was still just a black man in America. The cry of passion that Rollins rips out of his tenor sax on "The Freedom Suite" is stunning — certainly not one to be tampered with. But Rollins 'friend, disciple and fellow tenor saxophonist David S. Ware tackled the suite in 2002, and not only did he manage to build on it by including a pianist, Matthew Shipp, but he made it fiercer, freer — and twice as long. Bassist William Parker, and drummer Guillermo E. Brown lay down a pummeling foundation, but it's Ware who makes The Freedom Suite live up to its name.