painting by jack wright, oil, 40in.x 30in., 1995
"Spring Garden Music" began in 1982 as the name given by Jack Wright to a bunch of raucous improvisers from Philadelphia with whom he was playing. Some of these musicians lived in a house on Spring Garden Street, which the 40-year-old saxophonist (now72) had bought as an uninhabitable shell a few years before. It became the name for the label of his first record, and then more generally for the adventure of himself and his musical partners. This music expanded and changed as he criss-crossed North America, and also Europe, adding partners from everywhere, in performances and private sessions. After a 15-year disappearance in the wilds of Colorado (during which he studied, wrote, and painted--the above is from 1997), Jack returned to the East Coast in 2003, and now lives in nearby Easton PA, on--amazingly enough--a different street named Spring Garden. He travels even wider horizons, and brings back players from afar to play at the house in Philadelphia and elsewhere. He has been able to stock the house mostly with improvisers, ready to receive visitors interested in like-minded musical experiences. One generation of these appears in the Phila. City Paper: The House that Jack Built.
The current grouping consists
of his regular partner Zach
Darrup, guitar, and George Tillman, e-bass and drums. Recently (beginning
2014) there has been a renewed interest in free playing in Philadelphia
and some new organizers, particularly
James Strong, who frequents the house for sessions. Also trombonist
Connor Przybyszewski has been coming around..