David S Ware
Well, I moved to New York in 1984. I joined the Ware Quartet in ’89. Now, David had been on the scene. After he played with Cecil Taylor, he played with the drummer Andrew Cyrille, did a series of albums, and then he kind of disappeared.1 And he was driving a cab in New York. And at the time, he was also — but he was practicing, composing, and starting to conceptualize a concept of what he wanted to have with his own band. And he just refused sideman gigs and things like that, because he really had this vision of having his own quartet. He just really kind of incubated the whole thing. And so, he got a record deal with Silkheart Records, which was a multi-record deal in around ’88, I think.
And the first album he did was called Passage to Music, and it was a trio album with Marc Edwards on drums, and William Parker on bass. So, he was kind of back on the scene, and I didn’t really — I mean I knew who he was, or I knew the — I forgot the name of the album, with the Cecil Taylor album he’s on. And I knew a couple of albums of Andrew Cyrille he was on. I saw his name, so I went out to see him a couple of times, and didn’t know him. But after Passage to Music, he put out word that he wanted to, for the next album, add a piano player to the band.
So, he asked both, the bassist Reggie Workman, and William Parker, for a recommendation for a pianist. And the two things that were essential was A, the pianist did not sound like Cecil Taylor, and B, that they didn’t do drugs, because he was really into a drug free environment, and he was very serious about that. So, anyway, those were the two things. So, they recommended me. A, I didn’t sound like Cecil Taylor, and B, you know, I don’t do drugs.
So, he called me up, and we got together, just played. And I remember after we played, he just looked at me and he said, “I think we’ve known each other in previous lives.” And, you know, that was that, I joined the band. That was 1989. And then we did two albums for Silkheart Records. Man, I forgot the name of those albums. Well, after that, we did — oh, the Great Bliss, Volume 1 and Volume 2. And then he got signed by DIW, which was a Japanese label. Now, what’s funny about that is David Murray, the tenor player, was recording for DIW, and had been doing a lot of albums for them.
It was actually my idea. I said to David Ware, if they’re recording Murray, they’ll probably record you. I mean, they’re obviously kind of looking for modern tenor sound. So, why don’t you get a hold of them? So, David’s wife is Japanese, and she approached them, and instantly they got right back to her and said, “This is unbelievable. We’ve been looking for David S. Ware for years”. So, he ended up signing with DIW, and we did the album Flight of I. And then right after that, Sony, Columbia Records at the time, Sony, did a deal with DIW where they picked up some of their titles, and released them in America, and they picked up Flight of I. So, we were on Sony for that instant. So, yeah, I was in the Ware band for 16 years.