Spring Garden Music

Click on painting to enter....by jack wright, 97.5 oil on canvas, 30in.x 40in., 1997

"Spring Garden Music" began in 1982 as the name Jack Wright gave to a bunch of raucous Philadelphia improvisers with whom he was playing. Some of them lived in a house on Spring Garden Street, which the 40-year-old saxophonist (now 75) had bought it in 1977. It was an uninhabitable shell that he put back into shape, now known as the Spring Garden Music House. SGM also became the label name of his first record and subsequent recordings, and then more generally for the adventure of himself and his musical partners. His playing expanded and changed as he criss-crossed North America, and also Europe, adding partners from everywhere, in performances and private sessions. Jack disappeared into the wilds of Colorado for fifteen years (among other things, painting, such as the one above), returned to the East Coast in 2003, and now lives in nearby Easton PA. He has been able to stock the house mostly with improvisers, ready to receive visitors interested in like-minded musical experiences. An earlier generation of these appeared in the Phila. City Paper: The House that Jack Built.

The current improviser residents of the house are Zach Darrup, guitar and as of Sept. 2018 Tyler J. Borden, and of course Jack Wright, visiting frequently. Besides these, improvisers coming to Philadelphia play sessions at the Spring Garden house on a continuing basis, along the lines of the earlier No Net weekends. The house has contributed to a growth of activity in the city. Beginning in 2014 an increasing number of improvisers found that Philadelphia is a cheap place to live and play. Among them are Ben Bennett, a regular at the house, and Alban Bailly, guitarist and cellist who once lived at the house and has returned to Philadelphia, with more on the way. Evan Lipson, double bassist, former housemate and now in Chattanooga, often shows up as well.

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, doubts, and affirmations. The site is not just for the devotees of this obscure music, but for all who love music that is created in the full spirit of adventure.