Chris Beuscher & Mark Zamchek
Chris and Mark are Boston area artists who have been playing together on and off in various groups since the early Seventies. They worked from 2002 to 2007 in the format of piano (Mark), and bass (Chris), in a long-term project to develop their improvisational skills to a very high level. Their goal was to take improvisation beyond the common practices of taking solos in the middle of a set piece, or so-called free-form as practiced mostly by jazz players, and some progressive rock groups. What we have heard from this tradition has been mostly mostly a recital of figures that are already in the musicians' mental libraries - recombinations of riffs already learned and used.
The goal in this project was to empty the mind, open up one's consciousness, and let the sounds of the moment guide the 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.
The results can be very gratifying, as these releases show. But listeners do have to shed some preconceived notions about music. People who are used to having a repetitive meter, chord changes, and other standard audible cues that make music familiar may find it a bit confusing. Don't worry. Take John Lennon's advice - "turn off your mind, relax and float downstream ..."