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Wright, Jack : The Free Musics [BOOK] (Spring Garden Music)

Free improvising sax legend Jack Wright's book explores the origins of free music in New York in the 60s, tracing it across North America through the 70s to modern times, then taking the movement across the ocean to explore the networks and relationships of free player.

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product information:

6 x 0.7 x 9 inches, 316 pages, first edition

UPC: 9781537777245

Label: Spring Garden Music
Catalog ID: none
Squidco Product Code: 23370

Format: BOOK
Condition: New
Released: 2017
Country: USA
Packaging: Paperback Book


Jack Wright-author

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"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 (

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Jack Wright-author
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"The Free Musics goes into previously unexplored territory in the study of music-the social reality of musicians categorized as avant-garde, viewing all such musicians as distinct social groups. They are motivated specific to musicology and social/economic realities, which have changed from the postwar period to the present. In terms of status and livelihood support-paying gigs-there is normally a hierarchy: some are representative figures, some are ranked beneath them, and others are unranked and invisible to the media and public.

The first part deals with free jazz from its originary period in New York when it was a sixties movement, to today's established form. The study follows the shifting relation of these musicians to the music world of media and institutions and to classic jazz, and the effect these have on what music gets performed and recorded and what is suppressed.

Secondly, the book focuses on free improvisation in North America, which is traced from its beginnings in the mid-1970s to today, including its strong links to free jazz and experimental music. The title is often used indiscriminately, but for those who use that title to define their music it refers to a distinct approach, here given the name of free playing.

Following some of the British originators of free improvisation, it has often been called "non-idiomatic," which is here critiqued. Socially it has been the practice of a small number of musicians who form a network rather than a hierarchy. For them no defining code is to be learned or imported, and so anyone can potentially benefit from playing with anyone else. Ad hoc groupings are balanced by choices based on individual musical interest and friendship. Instead of aiming to meet performance, music world, and career needs, their playing and relationships directly serve their artistic interest. Free playing puts the artists ahead of the results of their activity and in charge of their collectivity. Lacking a hierarchy, the names of its players are culturally insignificant. Given this configuration, the network, the approach, and the recorded results of playing are unknown outside a very small number of attentive listeners.

The author is a saxophonist, exclusively playing free improvisation since the late 70s and continuously organizing, touring, and expanding his musical horizon."-Spring Garden Music

6 x 0.7 x 9 inches, 316 pages, first edition
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