Jack Wright’s “Limited Sedition” release, “Eight by Nine” (2000), featuring a large ensemble of local improvisers, has been hailed as “one of American reductionism’s landmark recordings” by Dan Warburton (Paris Transalantic). For this concert, Wright assembles an ensemble of like-minded bay-area improvisers in what should be a meeting of similar historic proportions. Musicians include Bob Marsh (cello), Jacob Felix Heule (percussion), Ron Heglin (trombone), Tom Djll (trumpet), Doug Carroll (cello), Mia Bella D’Augelli (violin), and Kristian Aspelin (guitar).
Jack Wright is either a very serious musician or else, uninterested to carry that burden, he could hardly be considered serious at all. In the eighties he called himself “non-commercial, not interested in the marketplace,” what today is known as diy. His wide vocabulary comes from reaching out as widely as possible for new experience, and playing with anyone who asks. He seeks to know his music as if for the first time, rather than demonstrating a pre-constructed and self-approved aesthetic. He is motivated to put his love of playing in front of people.
Jack has been a full-time saxophonist of improvisation since 1979, though he began playing as a ten-year-old in 1952. He quit, basically because he couldn’t play chord-change jazz. In the long hiatus that followed he studied and reflected on history, philosophy, culture, which he continues to do. He taught and quit that, engaged in radical politics and quit that when the left lost its revolutionary edge, began playing again as a free improviser. He has been regularly discouraged but has not stopped. Now he is known to a few people and seeks to keep the low profile, which is the easy way to go, business-wise. He used to rage and stomp around like a Dionysian; now he can make soft and squeaky sounds, mixed with occasional lion roars and dog barkings. He wears shorts, a beard, long hair, and a hat. He mostly sits crouched down, with the bell of his horn pressed against his bare thigh and muted sometimes into silence. He plays in public only with people who interest him musically and personally, but that’s still a lot of people, since he plays a lot of different ways, from free jazz to nothing recognizable as saxophone music. He may be obscure but he comes close to doing exactly what he wants in his life, and that is no simple matter for any of us.