On the Passing of David S. Ware

Today brings with it the sad news that David S. Ware has died.

A decade ago, I decided that the best reading material when writing fiction would be books about other creative disciplines — which boiled down to me reading a lot of jazz criticism between 2000 and 2002. As a result of this, I began listening to the music made by the David S. Ware Quartet — Ware on saxophone, pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist William Parker, and several drummers, including Susie Ibarra and Guillermo E. Brown.

2000’s Surrendered (his second album for Columbia) and 2001’s Corridors and Parallels (released by Aum Fidelity, the label run by his longtime manager Steven Joerg) are both stunning works, balanced between a profound sense of sonic exploration and incredibly forceful emotion. This may sound cliched, but — these two albums provided a shift in my perception. Without a word sung or spoken, Ware’s music expanded the vocabulary I had to describe the world around me.


For a more comprehensive look at Surrendered, note Phil Freeman’s review; Pitchfork’s Larry Fitzmaurice has a good overview of Ware’s life and work up now; and Steve Holtje has posted an in-depth look at his music, along with a 1995 interview that he conducted with Ware. All are worth reading.

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