here is a RECENT PERFORMANCE
"... nothing short of brilliant, often closer to miraculous."
Scott Yanow, Veteran Jazz Journalist
MARK KRAMER pushes the envelope? REALLY?
As many restless artists had experienced even 40 years ago, navigation of the field of jazz had been a daunting challenge. Most artists who had dared to reimagine or extend the artistic scope of jazz in a significant manner had materially pitted themselves against maintaining aspects of its status quo for fans and "movers and shakers" alike. Some who "risked all" did win a place in the Pantheon but most have not. Today that challenge still exists but is now set upon a near-delusional assumption: i.e., that the field of jazz is burgeoning with ordinary fans. Yet, by record sales, audiences who pay for tickets, and the number of privately funded live venues able to offer decent compensation - it most definitely is not. It seems to be populated by young students and aging beboppers.
Many past recording artists who stuck too closely to familiar envelopes (i.e, identifiable styles) generally lept quickly into obscurity - except those who were differentiated by their mesmerizing classical technique and artistic sensitivity. Thus, "death by reviewer" is often the unintended consequence for those subtly innovative artists who trusted that reviewers would have been able and willing to drill down in a fair fashion on their work i.e., beyond any of its superficial familiar elements, or even minor imperfections. This may be why some prodigiously dedicated jazz artists, no matter their elan, especially those lacking a significant stint with a celebrated mentor and/or those who would or could not adequately self-promote (minimum ~ $200K per year for a time) could never find a home in the jazz hall of everlasting fame - even decayed as it now is. For example, within the field itself: would Bill Evans have ever been regarded as more than a "jazzy" background cocktail pianist had he not served with and respected by Miles? One can now say with near certainty that outside of the field he is still obscure.
All the above unfortunately applies to Mark Kramer - as heard in the main body of his work. In this work, Mark primarily honors conventional jazz styles/attitudes many of which he developed in tandem, independently of known masters. Despite technically expanding some bounds of conventional jazz piano even within a familiar envelope, Kramer had not been inclined to lead with radical material or style. After all he previously had been pollyannishly dedicated to recruiting a potentially new jazz audience. HOWEVER, in full disclosure, Mark's status (now as a "senior" ) had never at any time been limited by an anemic personal artistic range. When this late bloomer chooses to reveal his underlying MUSE explicitly, he surprisingly and incongruously joins the ranks of young polymetric and polytonal two-handed pianists: i.e., likewise adeptly designing new concepts for the art form- [ hear an example here from "COITUS UNRESERVATUS" .]
Ever restless, Kramer has gladly decided to continue celebrating the rich history that shaped his initial contributions but now also nurtures and promotes what has been his oft-neglected long-standing personal MUSE. The reason for the latter is as it must be - purely artistic.
Even given the state of the field today, Mark is boundlessly grateful for all the joy, wonder, and even kudos that he has received from his many years as a jazz pianist. He hopes to share his journey with as many people as possible.
INQUIRIES - MARK KRAMER MUSIC
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