1. Roughhousing Performance in Johnson City, TN, Sept. 2016, on a tour of the Southeast and Midwest.
Evan Lipson, Double Bass, Zach Darrup, guitar and objects, Jack Wright, alto and soprano saxes.
2-8. Jack Wright - playing alone, July 2016 and Jan. 2017.Basement DAT tapes.
Spring Garden Music release SGM 26
This CD will be included with the book The Free Musics, when ordered directly from Spring Garden Music
Track 1: Evan Lipson lives in Chattanooga and Jack and Zach are in PA, so Roughhousing has played together almost exclusively while performing on tour. This track was the second performance of our Fall 2016 tour but the first one with a decent recording. Listening back to it I hear an overall precision and subtlety, with each player's movement in strict relationship to the other two. If music is expected to make sense, that is where to look for it. A duo can easily be interpreted as a conversation, which is less likely to be heard in a trio. What we are following can only be called "the music," which is so much in control of our movements that we cannot predict where it will go next, how long a perceived continuity will last, and when it will break off abruptly. Our precision is based on a clarity of feeling, of sensing the playing as an other we submit to. Will, effectiveness, something that "works," does not enter the picture.
Track 2-8: By calling this "playing alone" I don't mean a solo, a musical form intended for an other, not even when the other is oneself as listener. Instead it proceeds from clearing out any concern to create something of interest, which shapes what is generally known as music. Over the years I found, as many improvisers have, that merely turning on the microphone will remove something vital from my playing. Despite all efforts to dismiss this awareness of the live mic, I will know that someone might hear this--first of all myself, and I want to be pleased by what I do. As a normal musician I want others to hear only what I approve of, so I will select from the results based on what I want to hear. My judgment of what is good cannot escape my hope that it will meet the approval of others.
In July 2016 I stumbled on the answer to the dilemma and discovered a kind of innocence i had not known since perhaps my first moment of improvising back in 1979. I was so focused on my book that I was disconnected from playing; merely to keep up my chops was a chore.. I decided to ignore that and just play--how could I write about playing without playing? I normally get up early to read, think, and write. My book has been written without any urge to be a writer, it has flowed from the erotic urgency to think and write. In that state of mind I went to the basement,I turned on the mic and simply played whatever. I wasn't even playing for myself, which implies my judgment after the fact.
This is the closest I've come to free playing, where there is nothing and no one to follow, no idea of what is right to do, not even enjoyment. Only after a month did I listen back, and I found myelf excited by it. It was then that I imagined offering it to others, selecting it rather arbitrarily. There is even one piece that I felt embarrased to include, track 7. I did so because I realized that the entire project presumed my acceptance of everything, that to insert my judgment now meant imagining what the other would like, and I had no right to preempt that listener's judgment.
The experience came out of writing and fed back into it, a perfect circle. Just as I had not become a writer in order to write, so I had created a music that left left behind my instincts as a musician.