James Jabbo Ware
James “Jabbo” Ware:
The founder of the ME, WE AND THEM ORCHESTRA, composer/arranger/ saxophonist James “Jabbo” Ware was born in Rome, Georgia in 1942.
musical training on alto saxophone in St. Louis, Mo. in 1960, under the guidance of Mr. Harry Winn, a tenor saxophonist who had travelled throughout the South playing in swing bands during the 1920s and ’30s.
In the middle through late 1960s, Mr. Ware played in various rhythm and blues bands, and composed for and performed with BAG (the Black Artists Group of St. Louis), among whose members were Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill, J.D. Parran and Hamiett Bluiett.
Once in New York, Mr. Ware
studied improvisation and composition with George Coleman.
While a member of the CBA Band
(Collective Black Artists), and of bands led by Frank Foster and Sam Rivers, Mr. Ware
met many of the musicians who now make up the ME, WE AND THEM ORCHESTRA.
Through his association with Archie Shepp, Mr. Ware
met the late Cal Massey, who premiered two of Mr. Ware’s early compositions at the University of Massachusetts
Mr. Ware’s music is concerned with telling stories based on his
favorite themes: “Where do we come from?” and “Where are we going?”.
The titles of Mr. Ware’s compositions mean what they say, and the order in which they are presented in concert is always carefully planned.
As Mr. Ware
“At first, the audience may not understand where I’m trying to take them, but by the time they get there, they’ll know...”
Mr. Ware’s vision of the family as an ongoing unit to which we all belong is symbolized by his
concept of the big band as a family: “ME” represents the Creator; “WE” represents the mother and father; “THEM” represents the children.