Thursday, March 27, 2008



Also appearing:


Jack Wright, Saxophone
Michael Johnsen, Electronics

Jack Wright, Saxophone
John M. Bennett, Words
Ben Bennett, Percussion

TRUANT RUNTS is Michael Johnsen and Jack Wright, who have been playing together since 2000 and have toured in the US and Europe, sometimes adding French trumpet player, Sebastian Cirotteau. As a duo they have created a CD on the Sprout label by that name. From Italian reviewer Massimo Ricci:

"A duo like the one of Wright and Johnsen, who run the whole distance between the "omission" of a censored speech and the raspy outcome of repeated heated exchanges, is just what my fussy persona needs when everything in improvisation seems to be already said and done. Saxophones, electronics and saw are the means for a music that's the equivalent of a blasphemous cycle of electrotherapeutics, up there with crazed mementos of human imperfection camouflaged as raggedy rustles and photophobic handouts. Wright's re-engineering of reed techniques turns the snugness of "easy" listening topsy-turvy, insulating intelligence from mass-produced boredom. Johnsen's unbelievable control of saw and electronics' vocal qualities makes a lot of sense in this unembarassed context of plucky affirmations of independence from any predetermined canon."

JACK WRIGHT taught at various universites in the 1960s, and left academia in the early 1970s to engage in radical politics. By the late 1970s he directed his energies into playing the saxophone, which had been his childhood dream. He is today one of a very small group of musicians in North America that has played improvised music exclusively since that time. Through years of near constant touring, often performing for audiences in cities and towns where improvised music had never before been heard, he came to be regarded as an underground legend, the "Johnny Appleseed of Improvised Music". He has deliberately eschewed the conventions and socio-aesthetic limitations of musical careerism to pursue his own vision. Although his de-professionalized approach sets him apart from most musicians at his level of accomplishment, his art has always grown, expanded, and synthesized new information. He is unquestionably an original and virtuosic saxophonist, a master improviser who is deeply lyrical, with humor never far away.

Wright lives in Easton PA, centrally located on the East Coast, which is now arguably the hub of improvised music in the country. He tours frequently in Europe as well (and in Japan in 2006), making new musical and human connections, bringing Europeans to the U.S. to play with himself and others. His inspiration has provided crucial impetus to hundreds of musicians, even as he maintains that he is the one inspired by them. His vast list of collaborators includes some “name” luminaries (William Parker, Axel Dorner, Michel Doneda, Andrea Neumann, Denman Maroney, Tatsuya Nakatani, Bhob Rainey to name a few) but more significant are the many obscure greats he has played with. He has made over 40 recordings (many published on his own Spring Garden label), performed in over 20 countries, and written extensively and insightfully about music and society for journals such as Improjazz (France) and Signal to Noise (US), as well as his own website,

MICHAEL JOHNSEN was born in 1968 to two German immigrants in Pittsburgh, where he continues to live. Over the past several years he has wired together an melange of analog electronic devices for live performance, whose highly idiosyncratic behaviors are revealed through their complex interactions. As an antidote to all that wire, he is equally devoted to the saw, a simple folk instrument. He is especially fond of putting himself in difficult, confusing situations. Most of what he might have learned has come from the so-called natural world, like watching robins run. "My favorite sound is the one that's over."

He has played widely in the eastern US in improvising, electronics, and "noise" contexts, including three Hi Zero Festivals in Baltimore, two No Net weekends in Philadelphia, Avant-tronics (Ohio), and Sonic Transmutations (Rhode Island, 2004). Recent and important partners have included Michel Doneda, Margaret Cox, Michael Zerang, Joe McPhee, Tom Djll, and Greg Pierce.

Besides Truant Runts, Michael has also released a cd on Recorded, drawn from his Hi Zero performances in 2003: "Patience Tryouts".

ROTTY WHAT is a unique trio incorporating language not as text accompanied by music, but as simply another voice in the ensemble. They have performed in Columbus, New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Easton, PA. They have also released a CD, ROTTY WHAT, Luna Bisonte Prods, 2007.

Dick Metcalf has written of this group, “The recording does the sonic landscape great justice, one of the better-recorded live performance sessions I’ve heard...MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those who want adventurous listening experiences.” An Itlaian reviewer had this to say: “They just start building mud castles and conversing about the non-existant aesthetics of these improptu constructions...reminds me of Kurt Schwitters’ Ursonate...Tough music for tough connoisseurs.” And Mark Corroto says: “Full frontal nudity...the trio is quite comfortable on the knife’s edge, mining the outsides of poetry, jazz, and sound. It’s an adventure worth seeking out.”

ROTTY WHAT is JACK WRIGHT (see above under TRUANT RUNTS), John M. Bennett, and Ben Bennett.

JOHN M. BENNETT has published over 250 books and chapbooks of poetry and other materials. Among the most recent are rOlling COMBers (Potes & Poets Press), MAILER LEAVES HAM (Pantograph Press), LOOSE WATCH (Invisible Press), CHAC PROSTIBULARIO (with Ivan Arguelles; Pavement Saw Press), HISTORIETAS ALFABETICAS (Luna Bisonte Prods), PUBLIC CUBE (Luna Bisonte Prods), THE PEEL (Anabasis Press), GLUE (xPress(ed), LAP GUN CUT (with F. A. Nettelbeck; Luna Bisonte Prods), INSTRUCTION BOOK (Luna Bisonte Prods), la M al (Blue Lion Books), CANTAR DEL HUFF (Luna Bisonte Prods), SOUND DIRT (with Jim Leftwich; Luna Bisonte Prods), BACKWORDS (Blue Lion Books), NOS (Redfox Press), and D RAIN B LOOM (with Scott Helmes; xPress(ed)). He has published, exhibited and performed his word art worldwide in thousands of publications and venues. He was editor and publisher of LOST AND FOUND TIMES (1975-2005), and is Curator of the Avant Writing Collection at The Ohio State University Libraries. Richard Kostelanetz has called him “the seminal American poet of my generation”. His work, publications, and papers are collected in several major institutions, including Washington University (St. Louis), SUNY Buffalo, The Ohio State University, The Museum of Modern Art, and other major libraries.

BEN BENNETT is a Columbus native drummer who hits, rubs, scrapes, bows, and blows various objects.