The music on my new CD, Bamboo Philharmonic, is a retrospective of works composed between 1979 and 2007. They represent a number of different styles and genres closely linked to the evolution and development of my personal musical persona. Most artists are influenced by the prevailing zeitgeist and produce works that both embrace and pull away from the artistic trends that define any given era. As the years go by, musicians assimilate those influences they deem to be enduring and discard those that seem overly transient. The stylistic elements that remain constant throughout the years are what define our unique musical personalities.
About five years ago, I decided to retire from the jazz world and pursue a career as a classical (for lack of a better word) composer, conductor and oboist. It was a return to my oldest musical roots and a chance to fulfill some long held personal goals and desires. In 2006, I attended a national composer’s symposium in San Antonio, Texas. At the conclusion of the symposium I drove to Houston to visit guitarist, composer and record producer, Christopher Cortez. Chris and I had performed together in several innovative jazz groups during the 1980s and had reestablished contact after years of working on opposite ends of the country.
In the course of my visit, Chris expressed a desire to expand his own record label, Blue Bamboo Music and sign a number of new artists to the roster. As a result of this serendipitous meeting, I ended up playing jazz oboe on one of my compositions for Chris’s solo album, Awakenings.
The experience of recording my tune with Chris and the wonderful musicians affiliated with his label lead to the idea of producing a Mark Piszczek solo project for Blue Bamboo Music. We both picked our favorite pieces from my catalogue and collaborated on two new compositions. We began recording in December 2007 and continued working on and off for a year. Just when I thought I was through with Jazz for good, I got swept back into the thick of it. Working on Bamboo Philharmonic was a chance to record some wonderful pieces, played the way I had intended them to sound.
This thirty-year retrospective reflects the musical directions of my various groups, favorite genres and an unexpected reunion with old friends and the always passionate, precarious and beautiful world of Jazz.
I'm fortunate to have Bamboo Philharmonic released along side trumpet player, Carol Morgan's "Opening" and saxophonist, Woody Witt's "First Impression". I'm honored to be in such distinguished company.
Mark Piszczek 2010
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