Jack Wright saxes ..................................................Ben Bennett percussion
We have a new duo album called Augur, out on Palliative Records as of Jan. 2023, in download and compact disc format. It's a decent representation of what we've been sounding like lately, though performance excites us to find new territory. The CD is covered inside and out with artwork by John M. Bennett.
Here's a videa animation of a clip of Augur
Wright and Ben Bennett
have had a 15-year-or-so musical friendship, which persisted through
the pandemic with a lot of playing sessions, duo and trio with Zach
Darrup, sometimes recorded, sometimes not. To say anything at
all about the music always feels reductive, but we can say that playing
music like this pretty consistently renews and adds to our enthusiasm
This launches our Europe tour in April: Paris (twice), Le Havre, Brussels, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Copenhagen,, Goteborg Sweden, and Berlin. The schedule should be up soon.
Here's a short piece recently recorded:
And an idea of how a performance looks and sounds: Ben/Jack
"These musicians go at it in this session as if they are talking to each other, in moods that go from meditative to excited. Most of the time they are both talking at the same time, but their individual voices are clear and varied; it is a delight to be present."
(Petern Ganushkin photo)
The two met through Ben's dad, John M. Bennett, well known in the underground poetry scene and a partner of Jack's since the 80s. The three formed the group Rotty What, documented on two recordings, "Naming the Dust," and "Ohio Grimes and Misted MeaSnies.". Together with Evan Lipson, bassist, Ben and Jack played as Wrest, which toured the US six times over the past ten years and produced two CDs, "Wrest" and Ingress. and a duo Tangle on Public Eyesore Records. In 2016 Ben moved from Columbus Ohio to Philadelphia, where they collaborate regularly as a duo and trio with Zach Darrup (Never), and with various musicians who come through.
Wright's playing was originally melodic and fast, then became rougher and bolder when he heard European free jazz in the early 80s. His current playing is once again very physically engaged, but with greater attention to timing and precision. His musical range is as wide as his vocabulary, from fiery, breathless free jazz to quiet, breath-filled, and often animalistic sounds.
In 2017 his book The Free Musics was published and has been well received by reviewers and musicians.
A reviewer for the Washington Post newspaper said, "In the rarefied, underground world of experimental free improvisation, saxophonist Jack Wright is king".
Percussionist Ben Bennett has developed a commanding and highly personal synthesis of both traditional and extended techniques which takes the lineage of jazz, free-improvisation, and experimental music as its foundation. In searching for an expanded sonic palette, and fluid movement between disparate timbres, he has distilled the drumset into a compact assortment of drumheads, stretched membranes, and other objects which become multi-functional when placed in different physical relationships to each other, and activated by striking, friction, circular-breathing, and other techniques.
Bennett’s music often sounds electronically-generated, although it is produced entirely through bodily interaction with acoustic materials. The versatility of his approach combined with the simplicity of his setup allows for a high degree of responsiveness in improvisational situations, as well as unencumbered portability. Bennett has been performing and touring actively for the past 12 years, playing across the US and abroad as a soloist, in long-running groups with Zach Darrup, Michael Foster, Evan Lipson, and Jack Wright; and with many other collaborators including Pascal Battus, Leila Bordeuil, Tashi Dorji, Sandy Ewen, Travis Laplante, Ingrid Laubrock, Charmaine Lee, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Brandon Lopez, Weston Olencki, Jacob Wick, and Nate Wooley.
Continuing on the path of dematerialization (doing more with less), some outgrowths of Bennett’s practice have involved no instruments or objects at all. Between 2014 and 2019, Bennett live-streamed 300 episodes of a YouTube series entitled "Sitting and Smiling", in which he sat cross-legged on the floor, smiling directly at the camera without moving, for four hours each time. His channel went viral in January of 2015, creating an internet/media buzz and getting coverage from The Atlantic, VICE, Gawker, TechTimes, and other outlets. It was live-streamed at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, and has received more than 17 million views worldwide.
Review of Tangle: "The prevailing mood is that of tight, jittery nervousness, the aural equivalent of crab-sized bionic spiders crawling all over a person’s exposed flesh. “Embroiled” has a multitude of abrupt, sharp moments, as if the two were sparring with each other in a boxing ring; Wright unleashes a mind-boggling variety of challenging sounds, like multi-phonics, a violent sucking sound and inhuman snorts.
Bennett wrings as many sounds as possible from a relatively small amount of equipment, all of which could probably fit in a duffel bag. Nothing is forced; Bennett seems to coax out drum pitter-patters with his fingertips or subtle noises from broomsticks, but he also has abrasive turns, using thin rods for metal-on-metal squeaking, scraping, rattling and junkyard scrambling.
As always, Wright brings surprises to his playing, refusing to fall into a rut; here, at various times, he whinnies, sounds vulnerable and wounded, chatters through his sax, snarls and also manages to sound like a sped-up tape recording. It’s a bumpy ride for those who like to know exactly what they’re getting, but adventurous sound-lovers will find much to enjoy here.
----Ernie Paik, The Chattanooga
For bookings of this duo
email Jack at jackwri555 at gmail dot com.