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Published: 2011/11/01
by Ron Hart

David S. Ware/Cooper-Moore/William Parker/Muhammad Ali
Planetary Unknown

AUM Fidelity

Four of the most visionary players on the old New York City loft jazz circuit come together in an ultimate clash of the improvisational titans on Planetary Unknown.

The session that went down between saxophone colossus David S. Ware, piano great Cooper-Moore and the un-fuck-with-able rhythm section of downtown NYC bass luminary William Parker and legendary free-jazz drummer Muhammad Ali took place around Thanksgiving 2010 at Brooklyn’s Systems Two Studio and marks the first time this particular quartet of musicians ever performed together as a collective. What transpired that day was an impassioned calling of the spirits—living and otherwise—with whom each man cites as the vital organs to their respective bodies of work. And one can definitely identify the DNA of such essential masterpieces as Sun Ra’s Janus, Cecil Taylor’s Unit Structures and Fire Music by Archie Shepp coursing through the gorgeous discordance of these seven tracks, namely the epic 22-minute “Passage Wudang”, the ecstatic “Divination Unfathomable” and “Duality is One”, a duet between Ware and Ali that evokes John Coltrane’s historic tet-a-tet with the drummer’s late brother Rashied on 1967’s Interstellar Space, punctuating the spectacular return of Ali, who served as a sideman on such essential out-jazz titles as Albert Ayler’s Music Is The Healing Force of the Universe and Alan Shorter’s Orgasm, to recorded music in over 30 years. It’s more than a coincidence that this man shares his adopted name with the greatest prize fighter who ever lived—-he can sure pack a wallop, even at 75 years young!

Another historic moment in underground jazz happens on Planetary Unknown in that it marks the first time old friends Cooper-Moore and Ware, compatriots since the 1960s, appear on record together in over three decades, but whose compatible interplay seems to hardly skip a beat on selections like “Shift” and “Ancestry Supramental”.

This album is a monumental meeting of the minds that anybody who owns an LP featuring these four men should pick up straight away.

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