Structure and Freedom
An Improvisational Work of Art
Sunflowers and Roses
Structure and Freedom
11 x 17 poster
Masterfully filmed by Scott Nurmi of Mojo Factory Productions. Scott has filmed documentaries for some of the music world’s most reputable artists including iconic bassist Stanley Clarke; saxophonist Dave Koz; and the Washington Ballet, to name only a few.
In Mark’s third improvisational DVD, you are welcomed into the entire creative process - start to finish. In contrast to the esoteric and unapproachable presentation common among so many of the modern artists, Mark and his friend Yana share their knowledge and their love of music - along with their incredible freedom to create on the fly - openly and in a welcoming way. By their example you will learn how to relax in the studio and not take yourself too seriously as you offer your best without fear or pretense.
If you are seeking the means to break out of the illusions to freedom which have bound souls for centuries, then this will be at the very least, an enjoyable experience for you - whether you are looking for true freedom in your musical expression or true freedom in your daily existence. As is the case with all of Mark’s DVDs, Structure and Freedom will excite and empower you to become a fully alive human person no matter how you were raised, who you were raised by, or what you have been lead to believe.
“Artists do not learn how to improvise music from music teachers. Artists learn musical skills having to do with chords, scales, rhythms, technique, theory and the like, from music teachers and professors. Improvisation is a way of life intrinsic to artists, whether it is exercised or not. If you are looking for validation, then you will never be a great improviser. If you are longing to share the music of your soul, then you are already at the top of your game. Keep on practicing to improve your delivery.”
Mark Christopher Brandt
From the CD liner notes
So as not to confuse anyone, or leave the listener believing that I expressed a deep or long-ago sentiment for a person in this three-part work, the First Love I refer to in Part 1 is the C minor blues scale. This is the first scale I learned as a boy when I asked a mentor how I could begin the process of learning to improvise.
My DVD Structure and Freedom puts the process of creation with this scale and its tonal center on display for all. I intended to blowout on the C minor blues scale as a warm-up and then improvise a more cohesive piece for the video. The warm-up (Part 1) was successful. The second flyby was thwarted as the head phone cable kept pulling on my left arm so I stopped in mid-process.
By the time I began Part 3, I was purged of what could be called superfluous rambling and I was ready to get involved interiorly, rather than just the surface - or muscle memory - level of activity, often inappropriately called improvisation. For reasons regarding my own artistic integrity coupled with my respect for those who seek out improvisational music, I decided to place all three C minor improvisations on this CD as three parts to a whole.
I offer Germination as an exhortation to anyone who might see - by my willingness to put myself out there - that as piano improvisations go, Part 3 might make me look and sound good, but it could not have occurred without the exploration which occurred in Part 1 and Part 2. That’s why I left them on the video and that’s why you can hear them on this recording. The most important aspect in a work of art is not the completed work, but the growth and development involved in arriving at completion.
Mark Christopher Brandt
Here is an 11X17 poster of the cover to my third DVD, Structure and Freedom. As I began 2018 I was pondering what the cover of this DVD would look like and how I could possibly convey the ideas displayed on film with a simple cover. I saw this picture in my mind’s eye, but I knew that it only existed there. In order to get it on the cover I would need to “create” it myself. In keeping with the theme of this - and all of my improvisational works - I dove in headfirst, having no experience with visual art. With all praise to God I am very pleased with the results. I am also very grateful to my dear friend Shaun Jurek, who guided me through the ins and outs of Photoshop so that I could actually complete this image during my lifetime.
I must admit that creating this image proved to be as time-consuming as it was rewarding. While I believe that this is a one-time offering, in other words, I am not giving up my day job as a full time musician to pursue the life of a visual artist, I did not want to simply leave it as the cover of my DVD alone. This is a contemporary artistic statement which I would like to make available to musicians from every genre, style and cultural background.
Every person can relate to the freedom of soul that music brings to us whether we improvise or compose works of higher art, play for enjoyment, or just sing in the car or the shower. This freedom is portrayed here and I hope that it will find a home in your studio or your music room. Most of all I hope that as you view the image it will inspire you to higher heights and the realization of your dreams.