Flute, Saxophone, Shakuhachi
Six New Pieces for Solo Shakuhachi
Mark Miller/Art Lande Duo
Art Lande: piano, drums
Mark Miller: flute, alto flute, soprano & tenor saxophone, shakuhachi
“A success of the highest order”
There are various manners of integrating modern classical (some would say “European”) and contemporary improvisatory (some would say “American Jazz”) techniques. [World Without Cars] represents a success of the highest order. ...What makes a great piece of music is the unanalyzable property of containing all and only the right sounds at the right time. This characteristic is beautifully exemplified. ...The written-out compositions on World Without Cars would fit equally well in a classical recital format; they are elegant, tightly-constructed chamber works for flute or sax and piano. But there is also plenty of dazzling Jazz blowing here.... Though I mention [Samuel] Barber, I hesitate to compare Lande’s writing too closely to Barber’s (or Rorem’s), because I think Lande is a much more interesting composer. His pieces are more adventurous and make use of a greater diversity of rhythmic and harmonic means.
“A mesmerizing spiritual experience”
San Francisco Examiner
Lande and Miller have studied, performed and taught together for 20 years; they think and play with like minds. Their musical sound is not essentially jazz, since the fragments of melodic lines which provide the stepping- stones (as it were) along whose musical path the performance proceeds are more likely to remind the listener of, say, Schoenberg, Stockhausen or Cecil Taylor than Ellington, Monk or Miles Davis. But the Lande-Miller duos’sspirit and improvisations, based on charts, are definitely jazz. They play long suite-like works, weaving their sounds together through 20 to 30 minutes of playing. ...It’s weird and wonderful piano stuff, particularly in tandem with Miler’s alto flute or soprano sax expressions.Meters, rhythms, key signatures, gorgeous melodies (and chords) and spicy dissonances come and go, with Lande and Miller shifting the lead when the mood suits, modal style. Sunday’s Maybeck performance [was] a mesmerizing spiritual experience....
photo by Dana Walker, Ph.D.
The Nalanda Ensemble
Drawing inspiration from decades of experience in jazz, classical, and world music traditions, the Nalanda Ensemble specializes in spontaneous composition, a celebration of embodied awareness through improvisation.
Elena Camerin Young: voice
Khabu Doug Young: guitar & ukulele
Bill McCrossen: bass, guembri, mbira & kora
Mark Miller: flute, saxophone & shakuhachi
Sample these live recordings from the Nalanda Ensemble:
Photo by David Silver
This is the music of percept, not precept.
What does it mean to make music that is first and foremost rooted in the body, in the five senses and the imagination, rather than in the precepts of music: the notes placed on a page, the scales, keys, harmonies, intervals, stylistic constraints, historical precedents and commecial considerations imposed from outside?
Playing My Heart Out:
A Meditation on Improvisation
The disciplines of improvisation and meditation overlap, each informing the other. In meditation, we practice openness, awareness and tenderness toward our experience. In improvisation, we offer this experience to others, affirming our shared humanity through the fullness of our different points of view.
Improvisation is a meditation on the nature of being. As in sitting meditation, improvisation leaves nothing out. Our practice is to welcome whatever arises, without judgment. As John Cage said, “A “mistake” is beside the point, for once anything happens it authentically is.”
Improvisation is a form of musical exploration. What we explore, what we work with, is our lived experience. In contemplative practice and in the arts, the goal is to fully inhabit our lives, to live in the wholeness of body, heart and mind, and to be unafraid of who we are in community with others.
The truth of the music (and of ourselves and our community) lies beyond our personal conception of what music ought to be. The point is to get to the the music of this moment, and to the reality of our relationships, not to insist on the perfection of a particular vision or aesthetic. The point is to be open— not to the imaginary world that we think will fulfill all of our desires and expectations—
but to this world as it is, right here and now.
Boy- Girl Band
Anisha Rush: alto sax; Holly Amend: trombone,
Emily Takahashi: piano; Ken Bernstein: guitar;
Art Lande: drums; Mark Miller: tenor & soprano sax, flute, shakuhachi
This is our new album of twenty-one freshly improvised pieces
The Nalanda Ensemble
Post Valentine Heartbreak Concert
Mark Miller plays soprano and tenor saxophones, flute, alto flute, bass flute, and shakuhachi, the bamboo flute traditionally associated with Japanese Zen Buddhism.
He has performed and recorded with a wide variety of improvising artists including Art Lande, Tuck and Patti, David Darling, Paul McCandless, Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai, Tibetan flutist Nawang Khechog, and poets Anne Waldman and Allen Ginsberg.
His recordings with pianist Art Lande include two albums of improvised duets, and "World Without Cars," named a “top ten album of the year” by Cadence Magazine. To date, he has recorded eight albums with pianist Peter Kater, including "Illumination," nominated for a Grammy Award in 2013.
Mark holds an M.F.A. degree in jazz performance from California Institute of the Arts and is currently a core professor in Naropa University’s School of the Arts, where he teaches musicianship, improvisation, jazz history and the Contemplative Learning Seminar.
Photo by Jack Sasson