Frank Wright

The Complete ESP-Disk' Recordings

Frank Wright, childhood friend of the Ayler brothers, started out (musically speaking) as an R&B bassist, but was convinced by Albert Ayler to switch to tenor sax. He came to be the epitome of the free jazz tenorman, a hard blower whose intensity and "preaching" style earned him the nickname "The Reverend" and the undying respect of the style's connoisseurs. Given the Ayler connection, it's not surprising that he started his recording career as a leader on ESP-Disk' with the two albums compiled here in their entirety, 1965's Frank Wright Trio and 1967's Your Prayer (and, for the first time in this 2005 edition, supplemented by context-providing interview material). Note that the title would more accurately be The CompleteStudio ESP Recordings; the 1974 concert recording Unity, issued by ESP in 2006, is not included here.

The unrelenting fervor of Wright's playing on these LPs are a wonder of nature. But for all the freedom on display, there's also some organization, especially on the later quintet session, where some coordination with the other horn players is evident.

Like so many of his peers, Wright moved to France to escape the twin curses of racism and indifference to creative artists that were (and still are) endemic to the United States. His art was always too extreme, too soul-shaking, to be issued by mainstream record labels (an album recorded with Sunny Murray for Columbia remains unreleased over four decades later). That's exactly the kind of music that fit in on ESP.


Disc ONE
Frank Wright: tenor sax
Henry Grimes: bass
Tom Price: drums

Disc TWO
Frank Wright: tenor sax
Arthur Jones: alto Sax
Jacques Coursil: trumpet
Steve Tintweiss: bass
Muhammad Ali: drums

Track Listing

Disc One


The Earth7:522.Jerry12:103.The Moon14:564.Bernard Stollman meets Frank Wright1:035.Recording0:476.The Voice of LIfe1:037.Playing with other musicians1:458.Bernard advises Frank on Europe0:539.Europe vs. America (part one)3:0510.Europe vs. America (part two)1:5611.Other Recordings, books, and more2:5212.All is said0:28Disc Two1.The Lady7:122.Train Stop7:443.No End7:104.Fire of Spirits12:565.Your Prayer16:10

All songs written by Frank Wright except "The Lady" written by Arthur Jones (2005 Syndicore Music BMI). All interviews, MDA Music, Inc.


Front & back layout & design by Paul Costuros. Engineer: Richard L. Alderson. Disc one, tracks 1-3 recorded November 11, 1965. Disc two was recorded on March 26, 1967.

Press Quotes

"...a CD that has to be considered essential in the lexicon of creative improvised African-American music." - Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide

"Mississippi-born and Cleveland-raised tenorman Frank Wright (1935-1990) was one of the forerunners of the multiphonics-driven school of saxophonists to follow the direction pointed by Ayler, but with a more pronounced bar-walking influence than most of his contemporaries."- Clifford Allen, All About Jazz

Musicians: Frank Wright / Henry Grimes / Tom Price / Muhammad Ali / Steve Tintweiss / Jacques Coursil / / Arthur Jones /

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