Jack Wright: Shaky Ground

Episode 13 October 28, 2023 01:54:32
Jack Wright: Shaky Ground
The Exile Hour
Jack Wright: Shaky Ground

Oct 28 2023 | 01:54:32


Show Notes

"In the rarefied, underground world of experimental free improvisation, saxophonist Jack Wright is king." -Washington Post
"The fight that seems so radical and virtuous meshes perfectly with the maintenance of the social order." - Jack Wright
“Jack Wright is, and will always be, my scout leader.” - Dennis J. Palmer 

Described forty years ago as an "undergrounder by design," Jack Wright is a veteran saxophone improviser based mainly in Philadelphia. In 1979, after an academic career teaching at Temple University (European History) and activist politics, he returned to the instrument of his youth. Almost immediately he discovered free improvisation, virtually unknown at the time and still obscure. He is one of the few who have played this exclusively since then, one of the originals of the 80s era. He plays mostly on tour through the US and Europe in search of interesting partners and playing situations. Now at 80 he is still the "Johnny Appleseed of Free Improvisation," as the late guitarist Davey Williams dubbed him back in that earlier era, continuing to inspire musicians, playing and organizing sessions and gigs with visiting and resident players old and new. His Spring Garden Music House has been around since 1977, for the past sixteen years housing only improvisers and providing space for private playing sessions.

He has avoided the standard career aimed at visibility and prestige, seeing it as a hindrance to musical growth. The partners he's preferred over the years have also been mostly unknown to the music press, and too numerous to list here. His current focus is sound-oriented, mostly associated with the underground known as noise music. His main partners the past several years have been Zach Darrup, guitar,Ben Bennett, percussion, Evan Lipson, double bass, and Ron Stabinsky. keyboards, the personnel of WrestMinimal DisturbanceRoughhousing, Never, and RAWL.

Jack is what used to be called a "musician's musician," yet unschooled in music, learning through interaction with partners and private discipline. He's said to have the widest vocabulary of any, and still expanding--leaping pitches, punchy/precise timing, the entire range of volume, intrusive and sculptured multiphonics, vocalizations, and obscene animalistic sounds. The past dozen years he's come back to more physically engaged playing, but with a phrasing and variable sound unique among sax players.

In 2017 he published, The Free Musics, which has sold around 900 copies, mainly to improvisers in the US through direct contact, and often on tour. In 2022 he published another book, Shaky Ground, which combines his self-questioning and life experiences with a historical analysis of the current situation, particularly the left today. His books are available directly from him, info at Spring Garden Editionshttp://www.springgardenmusic.com/Spring_Garden_Editions.htm

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