I have to say that I do understand how an album as solid as Surrendered could get lost in the shuffle. David S. Ware has been recording under his own name since 1988, and in groups led by legendary names like Cecil Taylor, Andrew Cyrille and Barry Harris since the early 70's. In these last 20 years of releases under his own name, Ware has released about an album per year. So, where to start? And what are the chances that an album or two might slip through the cracks and end up in Amoeba's Clearance section?
Ware is considered by many to be a technical (and perhaps theological) descendant of John Coltrane. His tenor is big and brash, in a mold not unlike Pharaoh Sanders, Arthur Blythe or Archie Shepp. His facility is masterful, never neglecting the changes and yet pushing and pulling at the melodic core of the composition. He plays the whole range: he dives off the pier and swims far enough from shore to nurture tension, but he never lets go of his lifeline-- the strong melody within a strong composition. In fact, that's what pulls me to Ware over and over again. His albums are always so full of real composition. Songs are what he and his teams bring to the table, in this case, the killer quartet made up of pianist Matthew Shipp, percussionist Guillermo Brown, and a man I consider to be essential listening any and every time one has the chance, bassist William Parker.
Surrendered starts strongly with a tone poem of sorts called "Peace Celestial." Matthew Shipp holds the core of the piece with piano meditations conjuring Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett at his more internal. "Sweet Georgia Bright" follows, and is the album's most traditional "bop" composition, and it's the lesser for it. This quartet's strength is in the idiom of the post-Coltrane continuum. Tracks like the aforementioned opener, "Theme of Ages," the loping title track with its slow, even build reminiscent of Charles Lloyd's "Night-Blooming Jasmine," and even, to a great extent, "Glorified Calypso," tour that greater territory of improvisational and textural possibilities that the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago liked to refer to as, "Great Black Music," rather than bind it within the limits and collected baggage of the term "jazz."