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Ben Bennett / Jack Wright - Tangle
CD (Philadelphia)

-Bogus Ferret
-You Itchy

Ben Bennett - Drums & Percussion
Jack Wright - Alto & Soprano Saxophones

(Culture Is Not Your Friend) This truly adventurous endeavor of Public Eyesore sends Ben Bennet and Jack Wright into a spiral of spontaneous combustions via sound and human energy up to the point where music is being explored without any linear string of melody or even coherency. The result is magic through the complete freedom in space and time that Bennett and Wright fly their sounds through. The collaboration itself combines unsettling percussion and drums with different saxophones, giving birth to a wild beast that can be recognized through the crystalline oddity that mix sounds of bodily fluids and agonized wind instruments. Bennett and Wright’s “Tangle” is as free, wild, carnal and challenging as can be imagined. Their slightly humorous approach makes the total creation even more interesting and admirable. Beware, though, as the freest things are the most challenging and wild, but it’s a price you’re willing to pay in order to witness such uncaring, unyielding and untouchable beauty. - Oren Ben-Yosef

(Monk Mink Pink Punk) In 1987, the cassette Everybody Loves Texas was released, documenting that year’s duo with saxophonists Jack Wright and Andreas Stehle at Austin's famous country/blues club the Continental Club (I can only remember seeing Roswell Rudd and Steve Lacy there!). What did 1987 Austin think of the then less known improvising musician? I. Don’t. Know. Since then Wright has continued to explore the world seeking collaborators in his free improvisation exploits, including Bob Marsh, Fred Lonberg-Holm, John Berndt, John M. Bennett and many others on dozens and dozens of releases (including one recorded at my old home WHPK in Chicago), an immense catalog of mainly American experimental free improvisers. On Tangle, Wright teams with percussionist Ben Bennett—son of Fluxus poet John M. Bennett I just found out—who uses various small objects, bowls, boxes and other objects, as opposed to a standard kit. The pitter patter of these objects being tapped and rubbed fit the title of one of the tracks, “Bogus Ferret.” Wright’s constant flutter of multiphonics, wails, honks displays an intense creativity on the alto and soprano saxophones. In his 70s, Wright continues to explore and advance his craft. Wright also writes about creative music and its cultural and commercial implications. - Josh Ronsen

(Downtown Music Gallery) Longtime improvising saxist Jack Wright's career stretches back the the mid-seventies, collaborating the musicians known and little-known on more than fifty recordings. Young percussionist Ben Bennett played here at DMG last Sunday (3/8/15) for the first time and left us with three discs to check out - solo, duo and trio efforts. When Mr. Bennett played the other night, he sat on the floor and played a wide variety of percussive objects and blowable items. The music here is well-recorded so that we hear the textures up close or magnified. Although Jack Wright has developed his own improv strategies or language over many years, he adapts to each situation differently so that he is impossible to pigeonhole stylistically. I recently listened to an early effort that Mr. Wright did in 1978 with Andrea Centazzo in which he sounds somewhat like John Zorn around the same time. That was more than 35 years ago. At times on this disc he sounds like his early self yet when I've heard him through the years he sounds very different. There is a strong balance going on here, solid back and forth dialogue. Both of these two musicians are well-matched w=even though they are a few generations apart. - Bruce Lee Gallanter

(Sound Projector) No yawns heard in the vicinity of the livewire sax and drums duo of Jack Wright and Ben Bennet. On Tangle – a missive arising from apparently many years’ interaction – they lunge from one attitude to another with the mysterious grace of escape artists, while foregoing – to my gratitude – the tendency of the less disciplined to locked themselves into phlegm-drenched squawk n’thud barrage. Their winding path is far more enticing: Wright’s alto and soprano saxes contorting in strange and ever strategic displays: segregated from any kind of melodic temptation, he instead plumbs the full depth of his bag of breathing tricks with unyielding focus, hopping from one feat to the next as though charting every last millimetre of his brassy surfaces. Bennett does more than keep pace: rattling, scraping, shoving and shuffling around and beyond the surface of his kit, providing both a foil and a taut surface for Wright’s deft breathwork. While their ‘see where it goes’ mentality does obviate any possibility of narrative development, the fine details – many and varied as they are – never prove disagreeable. - Stuart Marshall

(Squid's Ear) If there are veterans at all in the world of improvised music, Jack Wright is surely one. He's been touring and recording in the United States and Europe since 1979. Though releases of his music on larger labels are scarce, a quick look at his web site will show a long list of self-produced recordings, both solo and in partnership with many other players. Ben Bennett is a bit younger than Wright, and to call him a percussionist doesn't quite do it. Bennett can seemingly play anything, with dexterity and imagination. The sounds he conjures up on this recording are sometimes alien, surprising and quick-changing. In fact, both these guys are throwing out sounds I'm not sure I've heard before. It all starts off fairly conventionally, with very recognizable reed and skin sounds separated into their own side of the stereo image. Somewhere around the four-minute mark things begin to morph, slowly. The complexity ramps up a bit, and sonic variety opens out. As a percussion dabbler myself I find it difficult to not try to envision how Bennett is making these sounds, and if it weren't for the discreet division of sources into left/right, it would often be difficult to tell who is making what sound. Bennett squeaks like a cheap sax and Wright cackles like plastic. At times his tone is more brass than reed. Pops and breaths and thumps and scrapes, flatulence, scratch and crackle and all manner of friction are applied. They back themselves into corners and then turn to climb the walls, finding some sort of common ground again. It all sounds like a hell of a lot of fun, one of those discs that makes me want to play myself. The only liner notes state: "recorded by jw on july 2, 2013 after hanging the ceiling." The playing here is also a testament to stamina then, and with Wright at 71, proof that the fire in the belly can burn a long time. - Jeph Jerman

(Babysue) This is an experimental album...so be forewarned. Tangle features Ben Bennett on drums and percussion and Jack Wright on alto and soprano saxophones. These tracks are pure spontaneous improvisation in which the players allow anything to happen. As a result, there are none of the familiar elements that most folks associate with music. This is not the first time Bob and Jack have played together. They were previously in the band Rotty What. Unlike some experimental musicians who are almost invisible in the real world, Bennett and Wright have connections all over the planet and are well-known in the circles in which they navigate. This is strange stuff...some would call it noise...some would call it non-music. We've learned to expect the unexpected from the folks at Public Eyesore. Three curious tracks here: "Embroiled," "Bogus Ferret," and "You Itchy." Strangely jagged and accidental underground excursions. - Don Seven

(Invisible Oranges) Jack Wright could easily be described as the king of underground improv. A veteran saxophonist and pianist, he has been active since the late ‘70s, touring the US and Europe and collaborating with a myriad of underground musicians. Tangle sees him side by side with Ben Bennett, a very talented and exciting improv musician, who in this case takes on the percussionist role. In the three long songs of Tangle Wright and Bennett explore the capabilities of their music in depth, losing themselves in a bacchian ceremony. To call this music free-jazz would be pushing it, considering that the duo explores not just the different combinations of melody, dissonance, rhythm or complexity, but the tolerance of the instruments themselves, becoming a joyous adventure in the non-music territory. - Joseph Schafer

(Free Jazz Blog) Public Eyesore is another adventurous and unpredictable label --two adjectives that also fit Tangle from Jack Wright and Ben Bennett. This saxophone and percussion duo has been working together for many years and their rapport shows. Wright, without reservation, explores the totality of the saxophone and pushes, and only sometime pulls it back, from the edge. Bennet is a sympathetic partner, providing atmosphere and support. The opening track finds Wright employing the more breathy and percussive side of the saxophone while Bennett gives the track texture and clarity. As the piece proceeds, Wright’s playing grows stronger and stronger building up excitement. Like Ironic Havoc, this album too require multiple listening sessions. As a listener, you become more acquainted with the pair's ideas and how they they present them, and soon what at first may be uncomfortable, becomes more logical and sensible to the ear. - Paul Acquaro

(Le Son Du Grisli) Depuis quelques années partenaires réguliers (l’attestent Ohio Grimes and Misted Meanie et Wrest), Jack Wright (ici aux saxophones alto et soprano) et Ben Bennett (à la batterie et aux percussions) développaient récemment leurs recherches communes de sons si possible singuliers. Pour ce faire, comme en atelier, le duo prend prudemment position avant de s’essayer à diverses combinaisons : les graves de l’alto traînant sur les rebonds étouffés de batterie, et c’est déjà la naissance d’une conversation. D’autant que Wright fait grand cas des propositions de son partenaire : ainsi rogne ou retourne-t-il quelques motifs soufflés en considérant les sinueux tapis de percussions que Bennett tisse sur l’instant. Au final, l’improvisation tient, qui confirme que la fréquentation de la jeunesse – hier déjà avec Bhob Rainey ou Matthew Sperry – profite à l’ouïe de Wright. - Guillaume Belhomme

(KFJC) Experimental jazz improvisation at it’s extreme side. Ben Bennett on drums and percussion which means anything that can be squeezed, banged, dropped or rubbed and Jack Wright on alto and soprano saxophone. Bennett is known for losing himself when performing live, rolling around on the floor, scratching things with his feet, grabbing at what is near him and unaware of what is coming next due to his almost trance state. It’s easy to visualize this when listening to these selections. The cacophony is stunning. It’s rough. It’s edgy. It’s mind melting. And it is fascinating. Jack Wright has a tonal quality and control over his saxophones which keeps up with Bennett’s drumming but does not take a back seat to the chaos. From subtle rifts to squelching and squeeking bursts where you can almost feel the reed splitting, Wright’s sonic explorations anchor the storm while participating in it. These two musicians have performed together in numerous group projects. This duo project lets them shine, playing off of each other as only seasoned pros can do it. - Naysayer

(Vital Weekly) Several weeks ago I reviewed a cd of Jack Wright together with his son. And now another duo recording sees the light. Wright (alto-, soprano saxes) is now accompanied by Ben Bennett who plays drums and percussion. Three improvisations, all about 20 minutes, recorded on july 2, 2013. As we are talking of Jack Wright I don’t have to mention that we are talking here of radical, improvised music. Bennett and Wright have been playing together since 2006. Together with Bennett’s dad, John M.Bennett, known for his work in the underground poetry scene, they had the trio Rotty What, who left two cds "Naming the Dust," and "Ohio Grimes and Misted Meanies"(on Edgetone). Ben Bennett studied jazz drumming, and followed his own path intuitively in the world of improvised music. Bennett and Wright make a good match here as this recording proves. Lively improvisations full of subtle and communicative playing. It is a kind of sound poetry and definitely music, although free improvised music of this nature may sound cacophonic and random for untrained ears. - Dolf Mulder

(Monsieur Délire) I’ve had a lot of fun listening to Tangle, and I’m sure the performers had a lot of fun recording it. Lively and playful percussion/saxophone free improvisations. Bennett uses lots of small drums, objects and preparations, so everything from his part sounds muffled and rickety. Three 20-minute pieces. The second third of “Bogus Ferret” got loony and I loved it. - François Couture

(Avant Music News) Interstellar Space, John Coltrane’s fiery, harmonically dense set of duets with Rashied Ali, has been something of a paradigm for improvisations for saxophone and drums. This set by percussionist Ben Bennett and alto and soprano saxophonist Jack Wright represents a different kind of paradigm, one that posits color and texture as primary elements. The conventional relationship between pitch and timbre is reversed here in that in Bennett and Wright’s hands, the former becomes a carrier for the latter—when indeed it surfaces at all. For all its potentially broad applicability, Bennett and Wright’s embodiment of reed and percussion interaction nevertheless manages to remain sui generis. Over the course of his career, Wright has embraced an especially kinetic variety of free jazz—such as would be licensed by Interstellar Space—only to turn around to explore a more austere, sonically constrained type of improvisation. At this stage he seems inclined to gather in and refine elements drawn from the entirety of his personal history, in the process producing a creative synthesis that, while rooted in each tendency he explored, is in the end neither one nor the other. Instead it consists in a unique sound and sense of continuity instantly identifiable as his own. Throughout the three lengthy pieces Wright sets out timbres or techniques as motifs to delineate and vary, beginning with a long, slow tone that splits into overtones and then dissolves into energetic, bop-like phrases employing a limited set of pitches. From there, Wright draws on the wide-ranging vocabulary he’s developed over the years. He constructs long lines out of air notes or uses register jumps to create the illusion of a jagged melody counterpointed by an independent bassline. More introspective passages find him building phrases out of open spaces as well as sounds, which effectively contrast with frenetic moments sounding like rapid bits of broken birdsong. Bennett’s sensibility perfectly complements Wright’s. Bennett’s starting point is a severely pared down drumkit—actually a single drum and no cymbals—out of which he creates a variegated texture of timbres using friction as well as percussive strikes. Bennett’s playing eschews rhythm or pulse in favor of pure color. He often mutes the drum to get a closed sound, scrapes brushes against any available surface, bounces objects off the drumhead, and plays on the metal as much as on the membrane. This allows him to play with dynamic as well as timbral contrasts, something that Wright does as well. It isn’t surprising to find out that Bennett and Wright have been collaborating in different contexts for nearly ten years now. As this recording shows, during that time they’ve forged a uniquely sympathetic relationship in sound. - Daniel Barbiero

(Improvijazzation Nation) Oy, wot’ webz we weave… I’ve listened to Ben (John M. Bennett’s son) only a couple of times, and have enjoyed his high levels of creativity… I’ve been listening to & reviewing Jack’s sax work for many long years now. The wandering/random percussion hits that Ben performs against Jack’s reeds on “Bogus Ferret” will challenge even the most seasoned improv veteran, but what emerges (at the end of this 18:57 piece) is something that can’t be compared to any other artists… you’ll be able to hear each little ferret frustration as these two go through a mating ritual like you’ve never heard before. Though there are only three tunes included, it was easy for me to recognize my personal favorite only a few bars in to “Embroiled”… the entire 22:09 sonic painting just “cooks” as you listen to it, with plenty of time for each sound to mature and take on a life of its’ own. Ben & Jack get a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who can’t go a day without some sound creativity in their life. “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.98. Get more information at the Public Eyesore page for this release. - Rotcod Zzaj

(Kathodik) Tre lunghe stringhe di reazioni istantanee dialoganti, cristalline nel loro approccio non convenzionale. Combustioni libere, stridenti e intrise di sottile ironia, dove l'asciutta strumentazione (batteria, percussioni e sax), vien sollecitata con grazia performativa. Tra inciampi e scapicolli, gorgoglii e rimbrotti. Di piccoli dettagli e assoluta mancanza di qualsivoglia rete di protezione o strategia paracula. Ma non crediate nemmeno per un'istante, di esser nei paraggi di un'azione disarticolata/occasionale (leggi: uscita fuori a culo). In “Tangle” ammiriamo due artisti che ben si conoscono e frequentano (nella band Rotty What), impegnati in una conversazione free form, evocativa e bizzarra d'aspetto. Sferragliamenti e panoramiche taglienti, dove l'ovvio, cede il passo ad attimi d'incanto ammaccato. E quando entrambi, si spernacchiano e ci spernacchiano nel bel mezzo di una tempesta, tutto pare esser al posto giusto. Affascinante e contundente. Bello per alcuni. - Marco Carcasi

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