Frank Wright (jazz musician)

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Frank Wright
Born(1935-07-09)July 9, 1935
Grenada, Mississippi
OriginCleveland, Ohio
Died(1990-05-17)May 17, 1990
InstrumentsTenor saxophone, vocals
Associated actsAlbert Ayler, Bobby Few

Frank Wright (9 July 1935 – 17 May 1990) was an American free jazz musician from Grenada, Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee and Cleveland, Ohio, known for his frantic style of tenor saxophone.


Wright was born in Grenada, Mississippi, but he grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. He began to play tenor sax in his late teens, when his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio as part of the Great Migration out of the South. More than 1.5 million black Americans left the South before World War II to seek opportunities in the industrial cities of the North and Midwest. Another 5.5 million left during and after the war, up to 1970.

In Cleveland, Wright met Bobby Few and Albert Ayler, both of whom became friends and musical influences. Originally a bass player, Wright played in numerous local R&B bands before taking up the saxophone. He also toured with B. B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland.[1] Ayler's musical influence persuaded Wright to switch to saxophone; his style is often associated with Ayler's. In addition to tenor saxophone, he also played the soprano saxophone and bass clarinet. A pioneer of experimental music, Wright is a widely acclaimed artist among his colleagues in the free jazz movement.


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

with Cecil Taylor

with Albert Ayler

with Sunny Murray

  • Spiritual Infinity (unreleased) (Columbia)

with Noah Howard

with Hans Dulfer

  • El Saxofón (Catfish)

with Muhammad Ali

  • Adieu Little Man (Center of the World)

with Alan Silva and Bobby Few

with Georges Arvanitas

with Marvin Peterson

  • The Light (Baystate)

with Saheb Sarbib

  • Aisha (CJR)

with Peter Brötzmann

with Raphe Malik

with A. R. Penck

  • Prayer for Ingo (Mara)
  • Concert in Ulm (Mara)
  • 3 x 2 = X (Music Corporation)


  1. ^ Wilmer, Val (1977). As Serious As Your Life: The Story of the New Jazz. Quartet. p. 282. ISBN 0-7043-3164-0.

External links[edit]