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 80) bought in 1977. It was an uninhabitable shell that he put back into shape, now known as the Spring Garden Music House, the site of regular sessions. SGM became the label name of his first record and subsequent recordings, and more generally stood for the vision of a pool of players, open to playing with others yet a collectivity of friends who choose to play together. Jack left Philly often on tour, criss-crossing North America, and also Europe, adding partners from everywhere. Then in the late 80s he disappeared into the wilds of Colorado--besides playing, he was writing and painting, such as the one above. He reemerged on the East Coast in 2003, and stocked the house mostly with improvisers, an earlier generation of which appeared in the Phila. City Paper: The House that Jack Built.

The current residents of the house are Zach Darrup, guitar, Lance Simmons, electronics and drums, Stan Urbeil, guitar, and of course Jack Wright who visits frequently. Besides these, improvisers coming to Philadelphia play sessions at the house from time to time, but not in the numbers of the earlier No Net weekends. Beginning around 2014 an increasing number of improvisers found that Philadelphia is a cheap place to live and play. Among them have been Alban Bailly, guitarist and cellist who once lived at the house, and Ben Bennett, a regular at sessions. Evan Lipson, double bassist, former housemate and now in Knoxville, often shows up as well. Tyler J. Borden, cello and Zane Kanevsky, electronics, are former residents, now in NYC and Maine respectively.

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 spirit of adventure.