"Inward Looking Outward" Chosen for "Best of 2014" Lists

Inward Looking Outward has been selected for two "Best of 2014" lists so far: 


"Uncommonly fresh and quietly inventive, Inward Looking Outward breathes new life into the venerable ol’ piano trio without having to step outside to achieve that. A rare achievement, to be sure." - S. Victor Aaron


"Under-the-radar jazz album that deserves your attention." - Ted Gioia

Vespers Concert Preveiwed in South Bend Tribune

Vespers Concert Preveiwed in South Bend Tribune

By JACK WALTON Tribune Correspondent

Composer J.J. Wright’s “Vespers for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception” is doubly ambitious. 

Stylistically, he’s merging the worlds of classical music and jazz. Moreover, he’s blurring the lines between musical performance and religious ritual.

“I wanted to preserve a liturgical element within the setting of a concert,” Wright says.

Performing the Scholarship: Vespers for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Performing the Scholarship: Vespers for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

"Vespers for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is an interdisciplinary concertized vespers service that combines new music, jazz, baroque music, Christian liturgy and musicological scholarship. It is scored for a quartet of vocal soloists, string quartet, basso continuo, and jazz piano trio. The composition is being written for the “Performing the Scholarship” recital series, sponsored by the Sacred Music Program at the University of Notre Dame.

Musical Thoughts on the Transfiguration

Musical Thoughts on the Transfiguration

On Inward Looking Outward, "The Transfiguration" plays a pivotal role in the musical narrative for the listener. The track is near the end of the record and acts as a transition from the earlier tracks' feeling of a journey to the record's arrival point. From here, the narrative calms down and sends the listener forth with the final track of "Take Me Home". 

All About Jazz Reviews "Inward Looking Outward"

All About Jazz Reviews "Inward Looking Outward"

It's something of a cliché to say that an artist is one of a kind, but it fits the bill with Wright. His music is informed by religion, yet his music bears no traces of religiosity, and he's plugged into the rhythmically perspicacious nature of modern music, yet he often speaks in measured tones, using direct phrasing that's at once unique and wholly in tune with the ear.

"Inward Looking Outward" Available for Pre-Order

I am happy to announce that my new album Inward Looking Outward is now available for pre-order on bandcamp. Digital and physical copies are available and come with instant download of two tracks from the record. Release day is August 19th, upon which you'll either receive your CD in the mail and/or be able to download the rest of the record from bandcamp. You can check out the tracks and share or purchase the record below!

New Release on Ropeadope - August 19th, 2014

I am excited to announce the upcoming release of debut recording Inward Looking Outward with Ropeadope on August 19th, 2014. The recording features my piano trio with Ike Sturm on bass and Nate Wood on drums, and includes six original compositions, as well as covers from Phil Collins, Jon Brion, and Sufjan Stevens. 

We will also be touring through the Midwest and East Coast in conjunction with the release in mid-August - stay tuned for upcoming concert announcements!

You can preview one of the album tracks below: 


The album was recorded by Michael MacDonald at Ambient Studios on August 27-28, 2013, mixed by Nate Wood at Kerseboom Studios, and mastered by Michael Macdonald at AlgoRhythms Mastering. Album artwork and layout designed by Madeleine Sturm.  

I am also grateful to be working with Matt Merewitz at Fully Altered Media on publicity for the album and tour as well as Mitchell Feldman Associates on radio promotion. 


Mother's Day Vespers at St. Joe Parish

Sacred Music at Notre Dame Presents: A New Jazz Vespers Service Dedicated to Our Mothers. 

Come join the Notre Dame Children's Choir, The J.J. Wright Group, and Faculty and Staff from the Program of Sacred Music at the University of Notre Dame for a participatory Vesper's Service at St. Joseph's Church in South Bend, IN.

The Notre Dame Children's Choir is directed by Dr. Mark Doerries. 

The J.J. Wright Group features: 
J.J. Wright - Piano/Composition
Matt Ulery - Bass
Jon Deitemyer - Drums
Benjamin Liupaogo - Cantor

Mothers Day Vespeers Poster (2).jpg

New Concert Video Posted

J.S. Bach - Ich habe genug, BWV 82. Conducted by J.J. Wright and featuring Stephen Lancaster - Baritone, and Katelyn Simon - Oboe.

A Concert for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord - Notre Dame Conductor's Chorus and Orchestra. 
February 2nd, 2014
Sacred Heart Parish Center
Notre Dame Indiana

Audio mastered by Michael MacDonald, AlgoRhythms Mastering

Program Notes for "A Concert for the Presentation of the Lord"

In programming the repertoire for this concert, my aim was to develop a narrative that could enable listeners to contemplate and experience the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, both in a uniquely personal and subjective way and through the lens of biblical history.

I'm Stuck Up

"Hermeneutic of continuity," a term that was originally coined by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, was presented to me by a scholarly Franciscan Friar several years ago. He presented it in the context that Benedict first used it, but ever since, I haven’t been able to stop considering how poignant and important this idea is for church musicians in contemporary America.

What We Can Learn From Sufjan Stevens About Sacred Music

Sufjan’s tour, ironically dubbed “The Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant On Ice” was on its last legs with only three or four nights of shows left. This title turned out to quite aptly describe the show's production, with songs ranging from “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming” sung in four-part a cappella harmony, to “Christmas Unicorn”, during which Sufjan donned a balloon animal costume rigged with lights, jumped on top of the piano, and sang verses such as this one:

Oh I am a pagan heresy
I’m a tragical Catholic shrine
I’m a little bit shy with a lazy eye
And a penchant for sublime