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 (now71) 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 Dan Pell, guitar, drums and vocalist;
and George Tillman, e-bass and drums, primarily. Jack has also opened
a program of two -month residencies for improvisers who want to spend
the time playing and meeting philly musicians. Recently (2014) there has
been a renewed interest in free playing in Philadelphia and some new organizers,
James Strong, who frequents the house for sessions.
The music is without known structure or mainstream visibility, bold enough to be uncomfortable with itself. This website opens the door to those who want to look in on this kind of playing and some of the thought behind it. It is another room in the house, where questions are raised about the fundamental direction of our music, and every answer provokes further questions, even doubts. The site is not just for the devotees of this obscure music, but for all who love music that creates itself. We are searching for what will open us to whatever lies within, which includes but is not limited to the musical direction we have chosen.