The Way We Were – from Go See The World (recorded 1997-Columbia)

David S. Ware-ts; Matthew Shipp-p; William Parker-b; Susie Ibarra-d

 David S Ware


Take me with you, Clarissa thought impulsively, as if he were starting directly upon some great voyage; and then, next moment, it was as if the five acts of a play that had been very exciting and moving were now over and she had lived a lifetime in them and had run away, had lived with Peter, and it was now over.

                        Virginia Woolf – Mrs. Dalloway (1925)


            The world is a clock. Time has been broken down into equally spaced parts, standardized fragments that fit like a puzzle of identical pieces. Years into days into hours into minutes into seconds, all equal, all taking the same measurable quantity to pass. All divisible, equal and measurable. Except it’s a lie, of course. Hours go by like minutes; moments take eons to pass; one lives whole lives in the gaps between seconds.

            David S. Ware, with his enormous sound and telepathic quartet, plunges into the cracks of his music like a deep-sea diver, heading far beneath the surface, swimming through vast worlds hidden from the top, before returning, breaking through the surface again at the point of entry. The Way We Were becomes all they were, could have been and could be. A fragment of melody floats by like flotsam and Ware dives deep, the story embellishing into the turbulent fits of memory and passion. Back up for a breath of air and another clip of melody, and he’s down again to the far reaches of love remembered, lived and lost. Frustrated and turbulent, the swelling memory of the past gives way to a moment of calm, a tender phrase that shivers with all that lies beneath the surface. It is a song as dense and layered as any relationship. Thoughts peel off the mainline of events into quacking struggles of doubt and jealousy, only to calm again in the presence of affection. 

            A melody line could be drawn out like the standard demarcations of minutes on a clock, but the life truly lived passes in swollen stories between the seconds. Passion and love extend out of time to all they were; moments cluster into agitated memories of all they failed to be. Shipp’s piano solo breaks into argument in the tiny slice between tender moments; Ware’s tenor speaks years of passion and frustration in internal thoughts below the surface.

            All of life, all the years and moments distended with meaning, can be reduced to just age and time. But it’s not. Time, with all its unpredictable fluctuations and derivations, all it percepted irregularities, is restored in a truer sense, with the life injected back into it.


Listen to The Way We Were: part1 and part2

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