Wilbur Ware / Sept 8, 1923 - Sept 9, 1979

The great jazz bassist Wilber Ware was born on this day. He only made one album as a leader but his unique style can be heard on many records, not the least of which are by Thelonious Monk.

The Chicago native was largely self-taught as a bassist of unique and unorthodox talent. He dabbled with drums and banjo and sang gospel. He played in local swing bands in the '40s, as well as bebop. Some Chicago experience early on included work with Sonny Stitt, Roy Eldridge, Stuff Smith and he played on some early '50s recordings with Johnny Griffin and an early version of Sun Ra's Arkestra.

In '56 he moved to NYC to play in Art Blakey's group. He was a house musician at Riverside Records, worked tons of Blue Note sessions and could play with old school bop guys and younger free jazzers. Ware was one of the few from his generation to embrace the avant-garde. He worked in Monk's group with John Coltrane. His only album, The Chicago Sound, was released in '57 and featured Griffin and Junior Mance.

He played with Sonny Rollins (check out the classic trio recording A Night At The Village Vanguard), Clifford Jordan, Grant Green, Lee Morgan, Herbie Mann, Elvin Jones, Don Cherry, Kenny Dorham, Archie Shepp and many more.

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