Today I was going to do a Pop Fridays post revolving around The Move and Electric Light Orchestra, but that’s going to have to wait after I stumbled across the following news item…
NPR reports and his official website confirms that saxophonist David S. Ware passed away yesterday at the age of 62 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. “His physical body failed but his spirit was completely ready to move onward,” a statement on Ware’s website reads.
Ware was a musician that belonged to a style of music that largely appeals to rarified tastes like my own: free jazz. Free jazz emerged out jazz musicians torturing the conventional musical structures and harmony of be-bop and post-bop jazz in order to widen the dimensions of expression within the art form…which has resulted in a fare number of noodlers skronking atonally away at the sax. However, Ware was in the category of saxophonists like Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler who was able to anchor his dissonant playing in discernible melodies, using his violations of conventional harmony to give his music an emotionally charged, almost religious expression. When I first heard his work on the album Threads I was blown away by how he managed to turning the dissonance of free jazz towards the cossonance of a string quartet, giving the music a profoundly moving and sad tone. The same approach is evident on his epic Renuciation Suite. Other works like “Astral Earth” suggest a careful attention to atmospherics and space that recall cosmic jazzman Sun Ra.
It is sad to hear that he’s passed. His spirit will be missed.