This music is a sonic exploration that crosses cultural boundaries with a freedom that surprises and challenges any attempt to categorize. Both musicians are classically trained free improvisers who started out as Jazz cats from St. Louis, Missouri. JD has been a presence on the Manhattan music scene since the ’70s, while Mark eventually headed west and now haunts the Bay Area with his Bazantar. Always taking an opportunity to make music together, they set up this session in San Francisco in 2011 to capture the unique language they had developed over the years. French Impressionism can be heard morphing, becoming a celestial raga, then hurtling into heavy metal screaming as it stumbles hard into a half-recalled dream version of “Jazz” to conclude with only hints of a Senegalese groove merchant. This recording’s cultural vastness has coherence and freedom of possibility that is vital to its realization and will surprise your ears.__JD Parran is a fearless free improviser. Intuitive, empathetic, and as open to the moment as anyone I have ever created sounds with. I love the bass clarinet. JD has total command of his axe and his hair-raising extended techniques interlace magically with the language I’ve been developing on the Bazantar. His pitch, timbre, and tonal range are kaleidoscopic and far beyond the conventional. The passion, intelligence, and history behind those chops inspire me to poetry… The outcome, a mystery… as the beginning is unexpressed… becoming, …an act of faith.
-Mark Deutsch––The Bazantar is a six-string acoustic bass, fitted with an additional twenty-nine sympathetic strings and four drone strings. The instrument possesses a melodic range of over six octaves, while its sympathetic range spans five octaves. This results in an interplay between melodic, sympathetic, and drone strings which weaves an unexpected landscape of resonance that is remarkably rich in texture.__”Mark’s ambient explorations invoke the ancient traditions of trance-ritual and embody a sacred musicality rarely heard in Western cultures.”-Bill Laswell, bassist / producer”You are listening to the future.”-Jaron Lanier, world renown scientist, musician, architect of virtual reality “…a visceral reaction akin to my stunned and delighted response to first hearing a symphony orchestra way back some 75 years ago.”-David Walter, Principal Bassist, New York Philharmonic, faculty Julliard”Mark Deutsch has created exploration into the depths of sound where the roots of tonality beneath Eastern and Western systems are one…A must for all sonic adventurers.”-Don Campbell, author of The Mozart Effect “Mark Deutsch is a mesmerizing virtuoso on his Bazantar that sounds like many instruments woven into one surprise.”-Yuseff Komunyakaa, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet”Every once in a while, someone comes along and blows doors off what is being done and that is what Mark has done with the Bazantar.”Eric Harris, Principal Bassist, St. Louis Symphony __What has Mark Deutsch done?
In the simplest terms, he’s spent decades building a new acoustic instrument, the Bazantar, in which more harmonics can interact with each other with clarity than in any other instrument, and then created music with a higher order of resonance than previous music. You can listen to Mark’s music as a sort of higher-dimensional raga, or as a psychedelic experiment, or as a tool for meditation. All of those frameworks are fine, but each only catches one glint from the gem.
Mark Deutsch is something else. That used to be an expression when I was a kid. “That cat is something else.” Something you can’t classify, something genuinely on the edge of what we know, that we can only barely perceive. I heard the term applied to Monk and Coltrane, Nancarrow and Ligeti. There belongs Mark.
It’s inevitable that the most extraordinary things are the hardest to perceive, much less appreciate.It is infuriatingly difficult to alert you to something extraordinary right in front of you, because everything is called extraordinary. I walked by a theater on Broadway recently, and there was nothing at all but blurbs. No name of the production, no names of stars, nothing about the show itself. Only hyperventilated superlatives. The most extraordinary show, the must utterly beguiling production ever. Whatever it was. The arms race of easy praise has topped out at the ceiling of imagination. There is nothing I can say to properly shake you so you’ll notice how important, how wonderful Mark Deutsch’s music is. You are immune, overdosed. What a shame. John Cage once asked us to listen to everything – to noise – as music, and that was lovely. But we are drowning in shallowness. There are millions of musicians offering work online, much of the work skillful, or funny, or touching, but massiveness loves stasis. More and more variations of the same, searchable, sortable, classified within what we already can express to perfection, in a computer. Computers can only offer numbers that will eventually repeat.
What are we doing here? I mean in the biggest picture? Is there an arc to the human story? Hopefully there is a moral arc. Hopefully we become wiser. Maybe we learn empathy. All wonderful, but I trust that there is even more going on. We become deeper. We feel more, find new ways to be in tune. Music isn’t just in the moment; it elevates our situation in reality. We become a process more entangled in the universe. The universe becomes more sophisticated through us.
What Mark is doing is like what J. S. Bach was doing, or Allauddin Khan, or Robert Johnson. Once in a rare while a musician feels so deeply, goes so far, that something in our ambient situation is thereafter different. Well, I can’t be sure of course. I live with the usual penumbra of blindness from being situated in a time and place. But I suspect that is Mark’s stratum. Listen and know you’re one of the early ones, one of the few. You are listening to the future. -Jaron Lanierworld renowned computer scientist, founding father of virtual reality, author, and composer
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