Mark Christopher Brandt

Sunflowers and Roses (2018)

Sunflowers and Roses Released July 31, 2018

Album Notes from CD Baby

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Yana Nikol, flute

Mark Christopher Brandt, piano


Sunflowers and Roses is a unique recording, as each piece was created in the studio with no prior preparation.  It is basically the soundtrack from Mark’s third DVD on improvisation, titled Structure and Freedom.  Each piece is a one-time creation which occurred on the spot between pianist Mark Christopher Brandt and flutist Yana Nikol.


Fans of Mark’s music are most certainly familiar with Yana’s musical gifts from her debut with him on The Nightingale (2017), which features her shocking command over the flute in speed, rhythm and tone. Sunflowers and Roses highlights Yana as an improvisor of intuition and depth as she seamlessly pours forth melodies which weave and swim in and around Mark’s inexhaustible flow of harmonic and rhythmic colors.


If you are one of the few, the proud and the dwindling who still own a stereo and value the peace and the joy that comes from active listening to higher art, then Sunflowers and Roses will make a welcome addition to your collection, and the seeds planted in your soul will bloom beautiful, fragrant flowers for years to come.


Album Tracks

1. Dawn

2. Dew

3. Fecundity

4. Garden Enclosed Part 1

5. Garden Enclosed Part 2

6. More Delight for the Emperor

7. Sunflowers and Roses

8. Yana NiCool

9. Child's Play


10. Part 1: First Love

11. Part 2: Second Love

12. Part 3: Third Time's the Charm

13. Fructiferous

14. The Part Where Death Submits

15. The Forest Through the Trees

Liner notes from the Sunflowers and Roses Hard Copy


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



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