Weather Watch Free Jazz
FEATURING: Dr. Mark Birnbaum, piano Dr. William Schimmel, accordion The 2nd of the 2 works, 'Scriabin at a Picnic (with his mistress and biographer)' based on a photo,) is lighter, dance-like, fun-loving and sponraneous REVIEW:'Another brilliant recording of a performance by the truly magical team of Dr. Mark Birnbaum, piano, and Dr. William Schimmel, accordion. Only two tracks here: First an extended improvisation that lasts almost 36 minutes, then a 10 minute track. Both will transport you!' Peter H. Gilmore - High Priest of the Church of Satan May 24th 2009 WEATHER WATCH-FREE JAZZ is a continuous collaborative improvisation with a relentless heavy, steady beat. On occasion, we hear snippets of Liszt's Hungarian Fantasy. SCRIABIN AT A PICNIC WITH THIS MISTRESS AND BIOGRAPHER is inspired by the photograph bearing the same title. It's an acid pastoral in suspended time with occasional references to Scriabin's Poem of Ecstasy. Both pieces were created spontaneously in real time and in one take. There was no editing whatsoever. Produced by Sydknee IPS/STUDIO MUSE RECORDS WEATHER WATCH - FREE JAZZ is the second in a series of Three CDS exploring long form improvisation and highly referential materials The first is DUALITY WRECKS RECENT BIO Mark Birnbaum (born 1952) is an American pianist and New York City fashion plate, well known for his ragtime recordings. A classically-trained composer and pianist, and a television personality, Birnbaum earned a Doctorate in Music from Columbia University in 1982. In 1983, he composed and directed the successful off-Broadway show, 'A Day Together', which was funded by the Helena Rubenstein Foundation and traveled throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Encouraged by Andy Warhol, Vladimir Horowitz, Eubie Blake and a chance encounter with Richard Nixon, he moved to playing (and singing) ragtime, blues, and jazz, successfully appearing at Birdland, The Angry Squire, and other nightclubs in the New York City metropolitan area. From 1990 to 1993 he appeared nightly (dressed in flashy clothing) as staff pianist on the Joe Franklin television show (WWOR-TV) which provided national exposure. At Edith O'Hara's 13th Street Theatre in New York City, Birnbaum has had successful one-man shows -'Ragtime 94', 'Ragtime 96' and most recently 'Hot Piano! Ragtime, Blues & Jazz'...which continues to travel throughout the tri-state area. In January 2009 it was performed for the 1,000th time. Nicknamed 'Mr Ragtime' by Captain Lou Albano, Birnbaum continues to record, perform, and reinvent Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, 1920's-1960's music and free jazz. In 2005, Birnbaum was awarded an honorary degree from the Neupauer Conservatory (the Order of the Shield) by Dr. William Schimmel for his work with the accordion. In December 2007, Schimmel and Birnbaum recorded together for the first time with the help of Micki Goodman and Godfrey Nelson their recent project 'Duality Wrecks', which covers the entire spectrum of rock and roll, rockabilly, swing, ballads and punk in a 50 minute non-stop continuum (interludes composed by the performers) www.billschimmel.com. In December 2008, Schimmel and Birnbaum recorded 'Weatherwatch - FreeJazz' (which includes Schimmel's 'Scriabin at a Picnic with His Mistress and Biographer), the 2nd in a series of 3 CD's; 'War in Heaven' is scheduled for release later in 2009. A hip-hop ragtime album is also scheduled for release in late 2009 (with Nikki Borodi and Ragidy Supreme). In 2008, Birnbaum was awarded an ERM Media prize for his 'Louisiana Elegy for Piano & Strings'; He has also received over twenty Meet The Composer Grants since 1979. As a pedagogue, Birnbaum has pioneered a radical method to teaching the piano, involving meditation, deep breathing and slow motion transformation ('going faster by going slower'). Birnbaum also suggests healthful ideas (vegetarianism, black-strap molasses, cider vinegar) designed to further one's ability to learn faster and clearer with more energy. The Art of Zen,The Japanese Art of War, William Blake, Milton and Dante are suggested readings. Piano greats like Eubie Blake, James P. Johnson (The Father of Harlem Stride Piano), Lennie Tristano, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock and Liberace (as well as Miles Davis and John Coltrane)are all included in this teaching method. Hurricane Katrina: As a tribute to the birthplace of Jazz (and the great jazz pianist and composer), in 2006 Birnbaum released 'Jelly Roll Morton's Missing New Orleans' (piano & vocals), a live CD. Fashion: Although less of a fixture on late night television, Birnbaum, when away from the piano, functions part-time as a fashion model - regarded as one of the flashiest dressed men in New York City; ultra-modern eyeglasses, cane and top hat with ostrich feathers, two-tone shoes, brilliantly colored suits and a full-length (faux) chinchilla fur coat. Is he Mr.Monopoly, Liberace, The Mad Hatter...or Elton John? That's what he is asked. Andy Warhol did tell Birnbaum that 'The United States of America Loves Visual Images'. In February 2009, art critic Ed McCormack (of Warhol - Interview fame) reviewed a portrait/painting of Mark Birnbaum by Andre van der Kerkhoff in 'Gallery & Studio' entitled 'Eccentric Spartan Extravagance'. Comparing Birnbaum's image to that of the Joker, he wrote 'Only in a city as lawlessly various as New York can reality hold it's own so handsomely against fantasy by producing a cast of characters who prove that truth can indeed surpass fiction. Perhaps as evidence of this, van der Kerkhoff submits 'Eccentric Spartan Extravagance,' an image of a gaunt-faced citizen sporting dark glasses and a long plume in his tophat whose everyday persona is a striking as that of any of Batman's arch rivals.'