The David S. Ware Unit: One Hell of Shows ‘Acomin Tuesday, Dec 26 2006 

David S. Ware Unit
David S. Ware Unit: (world premiere) David S. Ware (tenor sax), Mat Maneri (viola, violin), Henry Grimes (bass) and Whit Dickey (percussion)
— Seraphic Light: Celebrating John Coltrane’s 80th Birthday
— an ars nova workshop and International House Philadelphia production
International House, 3701 Chestnut St, Philadelphia — 8 pm
Jan 12 (Fri)


Podcast: 11/01/06 Thursday, Dec 7 2006 

Here’s the 11/01/06 Podcast

Once again you gotta skip a few minutes to get to the start.


Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers – I’m gonna build on that shore

Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers – I’ll Come Running Back to You

Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers – Touch the Hem of his Garmet


Joe McPhee and the Contemporary Improvisational Ensemble – Windy City Head Stomping Blues (Live at the Holy Cross Monastary, 1968. Underground Railroad. Atavistic Music)

mathew shipp

Mathew Shipp String Trio (+ Mat Maneri [violin], William Parker [bass]) – Waltz (Expansion, Powe, Release. hatOLOGY)


Max Roach – Garvey’s Ghost (Percussion, Bitter Sweet. Impulse! 1961)

Max Roach – Man From South Africa (Percussion, Bitter Sweet. Impulse! 1961)


Hugh Masekela – U, Dwi (Grrr, Mercury, 1965)

Hugh Masekela – Zuul and the Mexican (Grrr, Mercury, 1965)

Hugh Masekela – Emavungweni (Grrr, Mercury, 1965)


Archie Shepp and Grachan Moncur III – New Africa (The Way Ahead, Impulse! 1968)

Archie Shepp – Damn if I know the Stroller (The Way Ahead, Impulse! 1968)



Carnival Skin (Eisenbeil/Kugel/Robinson/Evans/Greene) -Iono (Nemu, 2006)


Hilmar Jensson – Grinning – (Songlines, 2004)


Charlie Parker – Max Makin’ Wax

Charlie Parker – Donna Lee

Charlie Parker – Ornithology

Grimes/Allen/Anderson in Philly Thursday, Dec 7 2006 

Henry Grimes’ Spaceship on the Highway. Friday Dec. 8th. International House, Philadelphia. 8pm


Marshall Allen…
…is out there. Coming up with the Sun Ra Arkestra makes staying inside seem foreign.

henry grimes

Henry Grimes…
…born in Philadelphia in 1935. He had it about as good as it gets in the jazz world, recording with a more diverse crowd of bandleaders (from Benny Goodman to Thelonious Monk to Cecil Taylor) than just about any other side-man in the history of jazz. Grimes exited jazz in 1967 and lost all contact with fellow musicians until returning to the bass in 2002. He’s back with a remarble retention of his bass technique, and has sorrounded himself with one of the most eccentric duos of saxophonists in jazz.

Fred Anderson

…had his sound transformed in swing and sound by the likes of Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins in his young career. He followed jazz outside in the late 1960s. But he can still blow his mind out (see above).


Avreeayl Ra

Spaceship on the Highway This is my kinda show. The ars nova workshop has worked to convert community spaces into temporary jazz venues. The cost is a bit steep for their shows, and you can’t expect cheap red wine to be flowin’ at the International House ($5 gets you all you can tastefully drink at the gallery shows). But hey, the artists themselves warrant taking your night out.

A Mixed Bag: Kenny Garrett on Nonesuch Wednesday, Dec 6 2006 

Kenny Garrett. Beyond the Wall. 2006. Nonesuch Records.



1. Calling

2. Beyond the Wall

3. Qing Wen

4. Realization (Marching Towards the Light)

5. Tsunami Song

6. Kiss to the Skies

7. Now

8. Gwoka

9. May Peace Be Upon Them


Kenny Garrett: Alto Saxophone

Pharoah Sanders: Tenor Saxophone

Mulgrew Miller: Piano

Robert Hurst, III: Bass

Brian Blade: Drums

Ruggerio Boccato: Percussion

Bobby Hutcherson: Vibes

+ Nedelka Echols: Vocals, Susan Jolles: Harp, Neil Humphrew: Cello, Jonathan Gandelsma: Violin, Guowei Wang: Erhu.


What a tease this record was. It came with high praise from a lot of sources and landed happily on my desk this morning. Garrett has never been my favorite, and Nonesuch records is good for almost nothing. But this disk has Pharoah and friends, and looked like a more spiritual, experimental, cultural excursion. At first I seemed to be right. The first track, Calling, is damn near fantastic. It’s medatative, it’s simple, it builds. Garrett and Sanders both play beautifully. Brain Blade, who can make literally anything wail (see his recordings with Joni Mitchell to prove the point), brings fantastic energy. I couldn’t make myself work along to the music as I put my feet up to let myself truly take this one in. Certainly a track I’ll use for radio play, and a cut that made me think Garrett had reached a new zenith.


The title-track follows. Miller gives a pretty straight-forward, chord-based, Tyner-esque solo, but it takes Garrett coming in for the track to get its fire. There have been thousands of Coltrane inspired tracks just like it, but its solid nonetheless.


It’s on the next track, Qing Wen, that the record wallows to its final sap-ballad resting place. The smooth Nonesuch production made me put my feet down and give the disc a second thought. The track is way too drawn out, but I suppose it’s pretty enough. The Nonesuch sound continues on Realization (Marching Towards The Light), a weird chanting number. Following that the record comes to its true low points: Tsunami Song and then, even lower, Kiss to the Skies. Tsunami Song is no better than music I would expect to hear at a cheap asian joint. Kiss the Skies has almost nothing to it. The record raises its head again for Now, which showcases one of Garrett’s hardest hitting solos. The record puts its head back down for the forgettable Gwoka and May Peace Be Upon Them.


Still can’t get into Garrett, but at least I tried. And with one truly memorable track to take out of the experience, it wasn’t all for naught.






WSRN Jazz Playlist: New Addition: Calmed Beauty from Ware and Friends Wednesday, Dec 6 2006 

My friend Caleb and I keep up the jazz playlist at WSRN FM ( He did some shopping and added some new releases, a few of which are working their way into my heart. Here’s the first recomendation for cutting new jazz:

The David S. Ware Quartet. Balladware. 2006. Thirsty Ear Records (the blue series)

david s. ware


1. Yesterdays

2. Dao

3. Autumn Leaves

4. Godspelized

5. Sentient Compassion

6. Tenderly

7. Angel Eyes

David. S. Ware: Tenor Saxophone

Mathew Shipp: Piano

William Parker: Bass

Guillermo E. Brown: Drums

I was certainly surprised to see this one on the shelf. Ware is known as an extraordinarily hard-hitting, free improvising servant of Lord Ganesh. A Ballads album certainly doesn’t fit with anything that comes before it in his work, but, it turns out, that’s a good thing. While I love some of his earlier albums (Aquarian Sound being one of my favorites), this is a particularly interesting glance into his creative process. Strip away the sometimes epic wailing sessions, go so far “in” as to include some standards, and this is what you’re left with.

The two original compositions on the backside of the disc are my favorites (Godspelized and Sentient Compassion), but I plan to absorb each of the tracks on this beautiful disc again and again. Ware demonstrates the outer realms to which standards can be pushed and the continued relevance of his own composition. Now we’re got a Ware for every moood. Or, well, two moods. Firey, screaming Ware shows up again and again. Now we’ve got a softer Ware to wake up to, study to, make love to. I dig it hard.

Podcasts: WSRN 10-25-2006 Friday, Dec 1 2006 

I’m going back through my old radio shows on WSRN 91.5 Fm Swarthmore College Radio Network to pull out the podcasts and get ’em up on the blog. Here’s the audio for a recent one. You’ve gotta skip a few minutes in to get to the start of my show…

Our New Orleans

Allan Toussaint – Yes We Can Can (Our New Orleans 2005)
Doctor John – World I Never Made (Our New Orleans 2005)
Allan Toussaint – Tipatina’s and Me (Our New Orleans 2005)

Ma Rainey
Ma Rainey – Jealous Hearted Blues
Ma Rainey – Bessemer Bound Blues

Louis Armstrong – Big Butter and Egg Man
Louis Armstrong – Stuttin’ With Some Barbeque

tampa red
Tampa Red and Georgia Tom – Dead Cats on the Line

howlin’ wolf
Howlin’ Wolf – Shake for me
Howlin’ Wolf – You’ll be Mine
Howlin’ Wolf – Back Door Man

Nuzion Big Band
Nuzion Big Band – Cabagetown Tango (Hallelujah!)

gold sparkle
Gold Sparkle Band – Hamlet (Earth Mover)
Gold Sparkle Band and Ken Vandermark – People’s Republic (Brooklyn Cantos)
sonny sharrock

Sonny Sharrock – Many Mansions (Ask the Ages)

peter kowald

Peter Brötzmann and Peter Kowald – Trollymog (Duos: Europe America Japan)

c. brotzmann
Caspar Brötzmann – The Tribe (Home)

sonny, please
Sonny Rollins – Sonny, Please (Sonny, Please)


Grachan Moncur III – New Africa (Exploration)