Wilbur Ware | Wilbur Ware Super Bass

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Jazz: Mainstream Jazz Jazz: Mainstream Jazz Moods: Featuring Bass
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Wilbur Ware Super Bass

by Wilbur Ware

An historic archival discovery of bassist Wilbur Ware's last record session as a leader
Genre: Jazz: Mainstream Jazz
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1. Mod House
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5:49 $0.99
2. Symphony for Jr.
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10:13 $0.99
3. Wilbur's Red Cross
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8:20 $0.99
4. A Real Nice Lady
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7:35 $0.99
5. For Frazier, Felicia, Veneida & Bernard
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7:27 $0.99
6. By Myself
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7:46 $0.99
7. Mod House (Alternate)
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2:52 $0.99
8. For Frazier, Felicia, Veneida & Bernard (Alternate)
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7:28 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes

Super Bass
Wilbur Ware (Wilbur Ware Institute)
by George Kanzler


Back in 1957 we (college students from New Jersey)
favored two jazz clubs in the Village that had
memorable bassists. Charles Mingus led his Jazz
Workshop at the Half Note and Wilbur Ware (1923-
78) was with Thelonious Monk’s Quartet (with John
Coltrane) at the Five Spot. Ware’s sound was as
distinctive and unmistakable as Mingus’, maybe
even more emphatic. He evinced a booming,
sonorous tone from the instrument, which he played
with a percussive fervor, plucking out short, fullyformed
notes. He could execute double- and triplestops
with alacrity, but what impressed most was
his big sound and rhythmic drive, plus the sheer
narrative melodicism he could bring to what were
primarily staccato, single-note line solos.
Plagued by addictions and ill health throughout
his life, Ware’s career was sporadic, his most
sustained activity the years he spent in New York
from 1956-62, including classic recordings with
Monk, Sonny Rollins (live with a trio at the
Vanguard) and as house bassist for the Riverside
label. This album, Ware’s last as a leader, was
recorded in 1968 as part of “The Dolphy Series” for
Strata East but never released. Produced by Clifford
Jordan, who also played tenor sax, it is an ideal
showcase for Ware, a bare-bones piano-less quartet
date completed by Don Cherry’s trumpet and Ed
Blackwell’s drums.
But the main attraction for Ware fans are two
long, unaccompanied bass solo tracks, “Symphony
for Jr.” and “By Myself”. Both are fully conceived
and realized performances. The former manages to
create melodic lines out of walking bass rhythms,
enveloping the listener in Ware’s rhythmic work.
The latter is more playful and exuberant, trills and
triple-stops announcing the theme out of the gate,
Ware continuing with double-timing, slapping
strings on bass body and effortless octave leaps,
illustrating the term “tonal virtuosity”, ending it all
with rhythmic authority. His powerful beat anchors
the quartet tracks, often with his bass sharing a lead
role as well as solo space. Jordan’s “A Real Nice
Lady” is a seductive contrafact on “Sophisticated
Lady”, the gem of the ensemble pieces.
For more information, visit wilburwareinstitute.org
THE NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD | November 2012 15


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