Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds- Remembering two Scorpio creators- Don Byas & David S. Ware

THIS BLOG- WE CELEBRATE DON BYAS. In honor of the tenor saxophonist’s 100th birthday, this RICO blog will celebrate his legacy.Born Carlos Wesley Byas in Muskogee, Oklahoma.“Don” earned his moniker as the leader of a Benny Carter-influenced band, “Don Carlos and his Collegiate Ramblers,” while he was still experimenting with the alto saxophone. He later moved to Los Angeles to perform along the West Coast with artists such as Lionel Hampton, Eddie Barefield, and Buck Clayton. In 1941, Count Basie placed Byas’ name on the map for New York jazz musicians and enthusiasts with a concert that was broadcast live on-air, and this led Basie to officially substitute him for Lester Young as the lead tenor saxophonist in his band. Around the same time, he gained a reputation for regularly performing in after hour jams with such pre-notoriety artists as Johnny Griffin, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk. Byas left Basie in 1943 to pursue a career as a leader and occasional sideman until 1946. While on a tour of Europe with Don Redman in the fall of that year, Byas made the somewhat spontaneous decision to stay there permanently, and soon after moved to Paris where his recording career took off. After officially parting ways with unfavorable working conditions in America, Byas spent much of the rest of his life leading quartets and quintets around France and the Netherlands, touring throughout the continent and performing at numerous festivals. Byas passed away in 1972 at the age of 59. Don Byas Quartet 1946 ~ Cherokee This is a jam session , usually played fast (quarter note= 250 b.p.m. or more). The many long, sustained pitches and slow harmonic movement make it a vehicle for virtuosos desiring to display their technique by playing lots of very fast notes. The harmonic progression of the first eight measures is a variation of the descending series of changes found in songs like “I’m Gonna Meet My Sweetie Now” and the last eight measures of “Charleston” while the second eight measures of the first “A” do a turnaround that delays the resolution: I – II7 – ii7 – iiim7(b5) –VI7(9) – ii7 – V7(+5). The second “A” eliminates the four chords between the first ii7 and V7. The “B” section contains an interesting–and highly logical--descending progression that starts on biii9, which is the ii7 of the bII. This, in turn, becomes minor, functioning as the ii7 of the chord a step below it, and so on, until the V7 of the original tonic. In the original key, it is as follows: Dbm9 – Gb7 – B; Bm9– E7 – A; Am9 – D7 – G; Gm9 – C7 – F7(+5). This same kind of chord progression is heard in “Laura” and “How High the Moon.” Simple. Yes? At that tempo- you gotta work and shed. THIS VERSION....Will never get stale or be out dated. It is a benchmark in jazz playing- and should be heard by anyone with a vision about improvising. It sounds modern to this day! Happy birthday Mr. Byas and you are respected deeply for ever brother Scorpio. MY BLOG TODAY IS DEDICATED TO DAVID S. WARE....I knew David from 1969 on.David S. Ware was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, grew up in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, graduated from Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, and briefly attended the Berklee College of Music. He moved to NYC in 1973, where he participated in the loft jazz scene, and later worked as a cab driver for 14 years in order to focus on his own group concept.[4] In the early 1980s, he returned to Scotch Plains with his wife Setsuko S. Ware. Ware's debut album as a leader was recorded in 1977 – together with pianist Gene Ashton (aka Cooper-Moore) and drummer Marc Edwards – and released by HatHut Records in 1979. He performed and recorded with the groups of pianist Cecil Taylor and drummer Andrew Cyrille in the mid–late 1970s. His formed his own quartet in 1989. The group was originally composed of Ware, pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist William Parker and drummer Marc Edwards. While Shipp and Parker were members for the group's entire existence, the drum chair was later occupied by Whit Dickey, Susie Ibarra, and Guillermo E. Brown. The David S. Ware Quartet performed across the U.S. and Europe, and released a series of increasingly acclaimed albums spanning the 1990s on the independent labels Silkheart, DIW, Homestead, and AUM Fidelity. Saxophonist Branford Marsalis signed Ware to Columbia Records in 1998 for a three-album contract.[5] In 2001 jazz critic Gary Giddins described Ware's quartet as "the best small band in jazz today."[5] In 2007, after 17 years together, the quartet was disbanded following the release of the album Renunciation and a final European tour that spring. Ware proceeded to perform concerts and record albums with a series of new group configurations: a new quartet featuring guitarist Joe Morris, William Parker, and drummer Warren Smith; a special trio celebrating his 50th year of playing saxophone (in 2009) with Parker and Smith; a 2-volume series of solo saxophone performances; and finally with his last quartet, Planetary Unknown, featuring Cooper-Moore, Parker, and drummer Muhammad Ali. His final concert performance was with Planetary Unknown on August 27, 2011 at Jazz festival Saalfelden in Austria. The recording of that concert was released in July 2012 on AUM Fidelity.Ware was first diagnosed with kidney failure in 1999, and, following nearly a decade of undiminished creative activity while on a strict regimen of peritoneal dialysis, Ware underwent a critically necessary and successful kidney transplantation in May 2009.[6] The organ donor was Floridian Laura Mehr, who responded to an urgent email message sent out to nearly 1,000 of Ware's fans.[7] He returned to the stage that October, and continued to perform and record highly acclaimed work for the next two years, even as he endured serious complications brought on by required immunosuppressant medication.[8] He finally succumbed to an aggressive blood infection[9] and died on October 18, 2012 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, aged 62. Very sad, and beyond words.ONE OF THE HIGHEST EVER....In his field of pursuit.His bands were always the greatest- forward thinking in the essence of today David was one of the ones....really had something of his own. First time I heard him he was playing " Django" 1969 in his style.I first got to play with David S. one of Charlie Mariano small ensembles at Berklee....It was amazing. Charlie would always play- and sometimes turn out the lights and we'd do crazy blowing and playing. David S. Ware would shake the walls playing and Charlie would be sitting on the floor smiling as David went to the cosmos. David and I used to talk about those times ALL the time!Those memory's for me are paramount and infinite.We had decades of friendship & I was humbled when he asked me to do liner notes for "Third Ear Recitation ". Really beyond any words now- he fought hard too. RIP David S. were an ocean of infinite inspiration in this life. THIS MAN....Was unified by spontaneous invention that are staggering in their complexity and intuitive concordance, skill, hard work,transcendental spirituality and conviction,he was an inspirational and improvisational tour de force of improvisation and mastery in the art form.One of the biggest tenor saxophone sounds in jazz- and a artist that also played stritch, saxello, flute and bass clarinet.David was a strong presence for jazz,humanity and enlightenment. . TILL NEXT WEEK ~ ~ ~ Be kind to each other and listen to David S. Ware and Don Byas. They are assets to this music, life and the legacy of all things in saxophone and music.~ If your a saxophonist and not aware of these giants you are missing a huge part of jazz history and creative individuality~ TIM PRICE

1 comment:

  1. great post.

    Two totally atomic geniuses of music--superheros of the horn.

    Ware's work only got deeper and more arresting as time went on. Onecept and Planetary Unknown are high water marks for the music.