Living Geometry 1
'Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock pulled it off, yet recordings of jazz-centric piano duets are generally few and far between. And while Boston, MA based pianists Marc Rossi and Ben Schwendener may not represent household names, this effort recorded live at a concert hall in Cambridge, MA hits the mark in a variety of ways. With this release, the pianists' improvisations were either individually planned or assembled as a unit. They also incorporate theorist/composer George Russell's groundbreaking, Lydian Chromatic concepts into the mix. Essentially, the artists' avoid collisions and awkward moments by design, or so it seems. On 'Dancing with Laws,' they integrate a touch of contemporary classical to complement avant-garde inclinations and mainstream fare. However, part of the beauty resides within their shifting movements and quaint lyricism via an overall gait that stirs notions of a gently flowing mountain stream. The duo delves into boogie-woogie amid variable rhythmic structures, free jazz, and airy swing grooves on the multifaceted piece titled 'A&P Swing.' Here and throughout, Rossi and Schwendener concoct subtle melodies in concert with alternating statements while utilizing Russell's now infamous harmonic language as a core framework. The musicians delve into contrapuntal maneuvers on 'Dancing with Laws II,' while also venturing into minimalist territory. Regardless, this is a very special endeavor, marked by the contrasting tonalities of their grand pianos and mutual comprehension of what needed to be accomplished. A beautiful affair it is!' (A top pick for 2002) ~ Glenn Astarita, allaboutjazz.com About Ben Schwendener: In addition to being a member of the jazz faculties at both New England Conservatory and Longy School of Music, pianist, composer, and educator Ben Schwendener is a leading lecturer on Russell's Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization and teacher of Creative and Critical Thinking at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Since 1997, he has also directed the customized music and dance education non-profit, Gravity Arts, and managed the Boston-based Gravity Records label. Schwendener has performed around the world and produced commissioned works for dance groups and independent films. His other 2002 release, Road Trips (Gravity), featured his quintet with saxophonist Bhob Rainey, guitarist Gregg Ramsey, bassist Hiro Harada, and drummer Steve Chaggaris. About Marc Rossi: Versatile Boston based pianist, composer, and Berklee College of Music educator Marc Rossi has been called 'one of the dynamic few whose musical and cultural awareness travels exponentially in many different directions' by DownBeat Magazine. A twenty-year veteran of both the jazz and contemporary classical worlds, and student of Carnatic and Hindustani Indian music since the early 90's, his ambitious career and inclusive compositions transcend the traditional boundaries of genre. The leader of the jazz fusion oriented Marc Rossi Group (MRG) since 1981, and longtime member of Stan Strickland and Ascension, he has also toured with icons like Jimmy Guiffre and George Russell. Rossi is also a prolific classical composer, whose works have been premiered by renowned musicians like pianist Jeffrey Jacob and cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer.