Cultural Percussionist

Wilbur Ware Day

Wilbur Bernard Ware (September 8, 1923 – September 9, 1979) was an American jazz double-bassist[1] known for his creative use of time and space, his angular, unorthodox solo technique and a distinctive percussive sound. He was a staff bassist at Riverside Records in the 1950s, playing on many of the label’s sessions, including LPs with such widely diverse stylists as J.R. Monterose, Toots Thielemans, Tina Brooks, Zoot Sims, and Grant Green.

Born in Chicago, Ware taught himself to play banjo and bass and he approached the double bass not only as a melodic and rhythmic instrument but also as a percussive instrument. In the 1940s, he worked with Stuff Smith, Sonny Stitt and Roy Eldridge. He recorded with Sun Ra in the early 1950s.[1] Later in the 1950s, settling in New York City, Ware played with Eddie Vinson, Art Blakey, and Buddy DeFranco. His only album recorded under his own name during his lifetime was The Chicago Sound, from 1957, while Ware was signed to Riverside. Ware was also active in studio recordings of several Music Minus One (MMO) jazz instructional LPs made in a New Jersey studio in the late 1950s, several of which have now been re-released on compact disc. In 1958, Ware was one of 57 jazz musicians to appear in the photograph A Great Day in Harlem.

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