Joie de Vivre
Round Trip DVD
The Manassas, Virginia-based pairing of two virtuosos, guitarist Dan Leonard and pianist Mark Christopher Brandt, has spawned three unique recordings and one “traditional jazz” Christmas CD, (piano, bass and drums), December Moment (2014), which received a favorable review from Downbeat Magazine (2015), becoming a perennial favorite among jazz listeners throughout the country.
The eclectic duo moved quickly through an evolving repertoire of open material with loose harmonic sketches and written melodies found on Round Trip (2014), to the more composed chamber music style pieces found on Joie de Vivre (2015), to the completely improvised material created on the spot in the studio on their most recent CD bearing the name No Explanations (2016).
Their DVD Round Trip, the Making of an Artist (2016), produced in conjunction with Mojo Factory Productions, documents the journey of the two musicians from their earliest collaborations in 1997 to the actual day in the studio when the final pieces for Round Trip were recorded. There is emphasis on the life of pianist Mark Christopher Brandt in this powerfully inspiring and motivational video, which devotes ample and enriching time on the obstacles he overcame in breaking free from drug and alcohol dependency. The video features spectacular scenery from the mountains of Shenandoah to the coastline of Maryland, with wildlife ranging from the occasional hawk, to a family of deer, to a close (and peaceful) encounter with a family of black bears.
No Explanations has an annual performance season that runs from March to November. They average one show per month during that time, with efforts to do more based on availability from their individual musical careers and family obligations. There is no shortage of projects on the horizon or musicians willing to work with Dan and Mark to accomplish their lofty artistic goals.
Mark Christopher Brandt, piano
Dan Leonard, guitar