Chris Beuscher & Mark Zamcheck
Chris and Mark are Boston area artists who have been playing together in various groups since the early Seventies. They worked from 2002 to 2005 in the format of piano (Mark), and bass (Chris), on a project to develop a new style of improvised composition. The effort produced a short album of pieces, Talking to the Muse, and a single release, Vernal Equinox. They re-started the project late in 2020, and their new album, Tales From the Noösphere, dropped in November, 2021.
Their goal in this project is to empty the mind, open up one's consciousness, and let the sounds of the moment guide each player's next notes on a purely intuitive level, without allowing one's mental repertoire of musical figures to interfere with the instantaneous decisions about what notes to play. With practice, one begins to produce pieces with coherent structures and theme development completely on the fly. Their effort has been enhanced by their 50 year history of playing together, which gives each of them insight about where the other is likely to go musically at any given moment. As Beuscher says about the sessions, "It's really hard not to let your preconceived ideas drive your decisions about what to play. When it's working, we just breathe back and forth and zone out. Often after a take we don't even know what we did until we play it back. We sift through the material, and gems appear here and there - sometimes."
The results can be very gratifying, as the releases show. But listeners may find themselves making adjustments to their expectations. People who are used to having a repetitive beat and chord changes, and other standard cues, may find it a bit confusing. The music will take your ears to some new places. Don't worry. Take John Lennon's advice - "turn off your mind, relax and float downstream ..."