David S. Ware, Threads

Dylan Hicks

By Dylan Hicks

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A surprisingly laid-back album from a fire-breathing tenor saxophone great.

The fieriest of living fire-music tenor saxophonists, David S. Ware blows circles around the competition and then blows a rhombus around them for punctuation. For Threads, he put a restraining order on himself, laying back most of the time, emphasizing his composing rather than his playing. The instrumentation is an economical variation on the "with strings" format: frequent Ware co-conspirators William Parker and Guillermo E. Brown make up the rhythm section, and then there's Mat Maneri on viola, Daniel Bernard Roumain on violin, and keyboardist Matthew Shipp laying down lots of digital string pads (corny sounding, alas, but an orchestra was presumably far beyond the recording budget.) Ware is absent altogether from the title track, a meditative experiment mindful of classical moderns Henryk Górecki and Arvo Pärt. Here is a rare commodity: Serious new music that could perfectly accompany a professional massage.