by Jim Ridley
This weekend — 10 p.m. Saturday, April 13 at Betty's Bar & Grill, 407 49th Avenue North, to be precise — you can see the saxophonist dubbed the "Johnny Appleseed of Free Improvisation." That's as good a term as any to describe the influence Jack Wright has had over the past four decades, convincing collaborators to form their own groups and even sympathetic venues while making music that honors his commitment to community activism.
On his website, in the guise of offering three separate bios to suit the needs of various media outlets, Wright sums up an underground musician's dilemma in trying to get the word out about his music and performances:
Before a musician can actually play in front of others, one must to find ways of communicating wth listeners and promoters who are quite diverse in their needs and images of what they want. We are selling one breakfast cereal to everyone with a potential taste for it, that's what the entrepreneur is supposed to do, so we must prepare a variety of packaging. Who is the real person, an established career musician some will trust from critical hearsay, a DIY'er whom others might trust even more, or a charlatan? Can we even guess what the real experience of the music is going to be like? There is the surface appearance and then the actual taste; the former can fool people with words, even with samples of music, but to actually bite into a musician is the real test, and then it's too late to decide not to.
In that spirit, we offer the YouTube clip above of a Wright performance — a snack that we believe will make fans of improvisatory music want all four courses. Bassist Evan Lipson, also seen in the clip, will be performing with Wright and Ben Bennett (on floor percussion) tomorrow night at Betty's as The Wrest Trio. Opening act is Schenker/Murray/Stangroom, consisting of Craig Schenker and Chris Murray on sax and Tommy Stangroom on drums. Admission to the Chris Davis-booked show is $7-$10 on a sliding scale.