Acclaimed free improvising saxophonist Jack Wright is joined by his son Ben on double bass for these exceptional duos that balance space and color through extended techniques and an impecable sense of timing.
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Label: Relative Pitch
Catalog ID: RPR 1019
Squidco Product Code: 18327
Recorded by Ben Wright.
Jack Wright-soprano saxophone, alto saxophone
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1. As if 8:46
2. Anything 13:12
3. Could 15:31
4. Be 10:54
5. The Same 14:17
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"Saxophonist Jack Wright has been a force in free improvisation since devoting himself full-time to that discipline in 1979. During those thirty-five years he has taken an expansive view of what improvisation can be, and what kind of sound world a saxophone can create. His earlier efforts arose as a natural response to and continuation of the expressionistic free jazz of the 1960s, but a collaboration with Bhob Rainey in the late 1990s led him to reduce the volume and density of his sound, though not, paradoxically, the passion. Rather than abandoning one style for another, he has conserved and retained the sounds of all of his musical incarnations, with the result that he has been able to fashion a broad sonic vocabulary to draw on in any number of different improvisational contexts. He has also devoted himself to developing the music by reaching out to listeners, potential listeners, and fellow musicians through his frequent performances at venues of all sizes throughout the world. In this CD, a collaboration with his son Ben on double bass, his ecumenical approach to improvisation is on full display.
The disc opens with an energetic, texture-heavy statement on the bass, which is quickly joined by staccato notes from the soprano saxophone. The piece is full but at the same time is full of space. Here as in the other pieces the improvisation doesn't follow a narrative arc but instead has more of the kind of color-based dynamic that painter Hans Hofmann described as "push-pull": layered timbres creating a sense of sonic depth and movement. This can be heard to full advantage in Be, which overlaps squealing, popping and grunting sounds from the saxophone and struck strings, overpressure-bowing and brightly articulated tremolo from the bass. But despite the preponderance of color as a shaping element, a trace of expressionism can be found running throughout all five tracks as a kind of subterranean stream irrigating and feeding the growth above ground. But at times it comes to the fore, as in the plangent alto and overtone-laden bowed bass on the second track, or the moaning of both horn and bass at the beginning of The Same. Conversely, the kind of reductivist sound shaping that Wright has become known for is by no means absent from the disc. Nearly all the selections feature it to some extent, though it dominates the closing track.
What is notable about the Wrights' approach to sound is the way it makes audible the physical confrontation of player and instrument. In fact, much of this is music that directly signals its origin in the body. The physicality of sound production-for example the inhalation and exhalation of the breath, the undertow of voice and the sonic signature of the lips which are so prominent in Could-makes itself felt at various points throughout the set.
This is a fine recording and comes very highly recommended."-dbarbiero, Avant Music News
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• Show Bio for Jack Wright
"Jack Wright was born Pittsburgh PA in 1942 and grew up around Philadelphia and Chicago. He began playing saxophone in 1952, with private instruction; also singing in groups large and small through 1964, including a blue grass trio (playing washtub bass), which recorded an album, "Undertaking Bluegrass." After this he ceased playing music. He attended Lafayette College in Easton PA, where he studied European history and literature and graduated 1964; Johns Hopkins University, MA in European history, 1972; taught history at CCNY in NY and then Temple U. 1967-72, after which he left the academic world. In this latter period he was involved in left politics, organizing mainly on a community level, and began to become involved with music again.
Described twenty years ago as an "undergrounder by design," Jack Wright is a veteran saxophone improviser based mainly in Philadelphia. He has played mostly on tour through the US and Europe since the early 80s in search of interesting partners and playing situations. Now at 72 he is still the "Johnny Appleseed of Free Improvisation," as guitarist Davey Williams called him in the 80s, on the road as much as ever. And he continues to inspire players outside music-school careerdom, playing sessions with visiting and resident players old and new. His partners over the years are mostly unknown to the music press, and too numerous to mention. He's said to have the widest vocabulary of any, including leaping pitches, punchy, precise timing, sharp and intrusive multiphonics, surprising gaps of silence, and obscene animalistic sounds. A reviewer for the Washington Post said, "In the rarefied, underground world of experimental free improvisation, saxophonist Jack Wright is king"."-Jack Wright Website (http://www.springgardenmusic.com/jackbio.html)
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