David S. Ware Memorial Service, Monday, January 7, 2013

8 Jan

Tonight, and despite the occasion, I was very fortunate to attend a delightful memorial at Saint Peter’s Church, on 54th street and Lexington Avenue. William Parker started with an “Invocation.” He mentioned a dream of his in which David Ware made an apparition and the entire evening paid tribute to Ware’s spiritual commitment. Parker explained how he could be at peace now even though he had lost a piece of himself. He continued with a piece entitled “Prayer.” Eri Yamamoto was on piano, Fay Victor on vocals, Rob Brown on alto saxophone and there was a beautiful string section “including and assembled by Jason Kao Hwang,” as the program mentioned.

Steve Dalachinsky read a poignant poem of his and the evening was filled with a lot of inspiring free jazz performances by Andrew Cyrille, Daniel Carter and Joe Morris as well as Warren Smith, and then Muhammad Ali and Darius Jones. Ali and Jones’s mini set was absolutely breathtaking, like a raw expression of a myriad feelings, something akin to anger, passion, and a mix of completely liberated sounds, like a vision. French sculptor Alain Kirili, who hosted Trio X at his Tribeca loft on Sunday December 30, also came to the Memorial with his wife photographer Arian Lopez-Huici. Kirili loves free jazz and he clearly belonged to this evening: His work is sophisticated and raw too.

Matthew Shipp, William Parker and Guillermo E. Brown also performed “the David S. Ware compositions ‘Godspelized’ and ‘Sentient Compassion,'” as the program specified. Matthew Shipp explained that Mr. Ware “knew exactly what he wanted to do in his life.” He had “self-knowledge and focus.” Shipp remembered Ware’s “calling, his vision – a vision toward new music that generated its own space and time.” And I am glad Jimmy Katz, who recorded the Memorial with his wife, also read something, because he is usually behind his camera! So it was good to hear him describe “his” David S. Ware. Katz chose to make his own musical associations.

This Memorial was a wonderful tribute to a musician who was not afraid to play long and sophisticated solos, as was clear on some of the footage used for tonight’s event. I left tonight’s Service richer.

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