JACK WRIGHT / BEN WRIGHT – As If Anything Could Be The Same

Relative Pitch

Jack Wright: soprano and alto saxophones; Ben Wright: contrabass

I genuinely loved my late pops. We could talk Roberto “Manos De Piedra” Duran vs Sugar Ray Leonard no problem, but there was no way to let him understand why instrumentalists who play complexly (or less) from the depths of their guts-and-soul wiseness are finer musicians than mafia-protected Italian songsters selling millions of copies of cheaply strummed C/A min/Dmin/G singles (“Oh, you think you are a better guitarist than so-and-so, who’s number one on the Hit Parade?”). Hence my captivation with the father/son equation in an improvising context, as in this Wright-und-Wright duo. Of course it’s not an entirely new concept – Joe and Mat Maneri first come to mind – but the off-center appropriations of the unprocessed acoustic substance that surrounds the conversation going on in As If Anything Could Be The Same yield results that do not ask for a “channeling” into form, not to mention verbal depictions.

The dynamics at work are fairly removed from any sentiment of emotional arousal, broken-heartedness, masked intellectualism or whatever might be regularly connected to the “aesthetic” of resistance to genres. Simply and effectively, the Wrights catch notes, squeals, rubs, thunks, whispers and howls on the fly, exercising those fleeting physical phenomena with the determination of someone who has a single bullet left in the barrel and cannot afford to waste it. Meaning that each emission – even the seemingly trivial ones – contributes quite a lot to the music’s efficiency. We detect tensions and releases, the volition for playing at the maximum achievable stage of rational malleability but also the inflexibleness (admirable, in this case) of two men heading off phraseological commonplace like plague. There are reasons when – after approaching a record such as this one – a honest analyst utters a “now what?” before pushing the button for an indefinite amount of additional spins. An identical conclusion is reached every time: outstanding music, tangibly bedraggled when needed, erratically cultured a moment later. Still, you can’t put a finger on it; but it will place all of its fingers on you, consistently pinching the right spots.

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