Saturday, May 26, 2007

Wright Pocket, Red Room

The Jack Wright Trio @ The Red Room, Baltimore, MD - May 26, 2007
Jack Wright: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone
Toshi Makihara: drums
Evan Lipson: bass

This is one hot, creative trio with big ears and musicianship to burn. Each member performed as an equal part of the overall sonic painting. The linear explorations and responses/reactions to the other players occasionally coalescing into pockets of richly satisfying grooves before dissolving into a constantly shifting soundscape. The shifting textures and densities gave way to brief focal points on individual performers. But the overall emphasis was on the energy and free flowing ideas that formed a remarkably balanced cohesiveness. I hope somebody is documenting this group.

The extended techniques each player integrated into this evening's performance was striking. Each seemed to emerge as a natural part of the overall sound without drawing attention to the "non-standard" approach to playing. Wright took apart and then reassembled his soprano saxophone in the middle of the set's second piece. First playing without the mouthpiece, then using circular breathing to play the metal column like a small didgeridoo. Makihara explored all kinds of inventive sounds from his drum kit, using a wide variety of sticks, brushes, bare knuckles and elbows. At one point he picked up a thermos and found a nice percussive sound by rhythmically snapping it open and shut. And Lipson brought out the rich, resonant body of the acoustic bass into the sonic texture as he bowed the body of the instrument itself and played some beautiful col legno passages. He also used clothes pins to alter the vibrations of the open strings and fearlessly applied several aggressive Bartok pizzicato snaps. But what really impressed me was when Wright would drop out and one could hear a ghost-like sonic image of his lines and gestures being played on the bass - often matching his register.

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