Mark Christopher Brandt
Round Trip (2014)
Mark Christopher Brandt: acoustic piano
Dan Leonard: guitar
About Round Trip (Released March 22, 2014)
On March 22, 2014 at a small club in Northern Virginia, a single file line stretched to the back of the club made up of those who had just attended the Round Trip CD release performance. They waited eagerly to meet the musicians, purchase merchandise, and even to get autographs. The eclectic group No Explanations was born.
The band that night was a duo comprised of two of the most well-known and reputable musicians in the Washington D.C. music scene. Accompanying the pianist Mark Christopher Brandt through the hour set of his originals, was the blues, fusion and jazz-rock guitarist, Dan Leonard, best known for his work with the Deanna Bogart Band, but highly regarded as both a jazz and acoustic guitar virtuoso as well.
One of the casualties of Mark’s hiatus from the music scene at the end of 1999 was the collaboration between the guitarist and the pianist that began almost immediately after their encounter on Mark’s Suite for a Fish Out of Water CD (1997). Now, sixteen years later, as abruptly as the two musicians stopped playing, they were back together and performing publicly.
Round Trip is aptly titled as it includes five tracks from the 1997 studio collaboration that was left unfinished and six new pieces from 2013. Dan and Mark brought the old with the new, as accomplished artists regularly do, to create a recording which instantly caught on in the winding, chaotic world of internet downloads and garnered interest locally as the two seasoned musicians began to make appearances together. There are few musicians in the world today who play nylon, steel-string, and electric guitars with such striking and equal command on each of them as Dan Leonard does. On Round Trip he performs with the chops of a fusion burner on the acoustic guitar, and the depth and command of a nylon string master on the hollow body jazz guitar. It is no wonder that Dan and Mark found such a winning chemistry together. They step into any arena and immediately create music on a very deep level as if there are no boundaries, no barriers, no fear, and no audience. They switch roles at will as one person, intuitively becoming the chords or the lines as the music calls for in any given moment. They are not simply the musicians. They are one with the music.
From the first moments of Sunrise to the last ring out of Sunset, Dan and Mark weave flowing melodies and air-like harmonies together in a cross between an ocean-like ebb and flow and an enriching mountain breeze. Whether you are a jazz, classical, folk, or rock music lover, you will soar like an eagle over the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and come down peacefully on the beaches of the Atlantic coast. Round Trip is your ongoing ticket to freedom of soul. You can take the trip again and again. Just get yourself alone with a good set of speakers and push play.
2. The Doctor Is In
4. The Visit
5. Round Trip
8. Mountain Air
9. A Moment of Peace
11. The Shore at Night