•••Major Vistas EPK•••
“The talented and eclectic trio of musicians that make up Major Vistas are combining forces to make some of the most fresh and inventive original music in Madison’s music scene.”
Tony Barba/Saxophonist for Young Blood Brass Band/Barbacoa
Original, modern instrumental and improvisational music can be used to describe a whole generation of musicians that are melding Electronic, Rock and Hip Hop music into a new tradition of Jazz. Perhaps what makes Major Vistas unique in this field is that Mike Weiser and Chris Bucheit are both composers with work that naturally compliments each other – in fact it can be difficult to determine which songs are written by whom if you had to guess by sound alone. One thinks back to musical partnerships such as Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays and Donald Fagen/Walter Becker whose collaborative efforts equaled much more than the sum of its parts. But balancing artistic contributions and presenting it as cohesive work can be challenging in the least. This seems effortless for Weiser and Bucheit – no doubt in part due to both having diverse musical backgrounds even though growing up in different parts of the Midwest.
This is on display with Major Vistas debut release “Minor Anthems” recorded and released in 2016.
Tone Madison Review:
Madison-based trio Major Vistas’ debut album, Minor Anthems, crafts flowing and subtly ambitious instrumentals from a gentle palette of jazz, rock, and electronic sounds. Chris Bucheit’s mostly clean-toned guitars, Mike Weiser’s electric piano, and Geoff Brady’s drums give these songs an approachable surface, but also give the band a lot of room to explore a variety of textures and feels. Weiser and Bucheit dart around each other through the ascending figures of “Deep Space” as Brady weaves tastefully mutating grooves. “Beginning Mind” uses rich piano chords and delay-streaked guitar loops to craft a melody that’s at once conversational and ominous, with rhythms that alternate between mid-tempo rock and nimble swing. That versatility—and the band’s balance of hooks and improvisation—makes Major Vistas a worthy addition to Madison’s jazz offerings.
– Scott Gordon • June 2016
Michael Brenneis joined the group in early 2018, and brings incredible depth and experience to the formula. He is a composer in his own right, and the trio looks forward to exploring his songwriting talents as well.
Keep an ear out for this group based in Madison. If their first CD is any sign of what’s to come, the Jazz community and broader musical audience is in for a treat!
Additional Notes: Mike has produced music and sounds for award winning video games and educational apps while performing music for many years in almost every style of music. Chris has spent the last 25 years writing, performing and crafting his own guitar style that blends fingerstyle and Jazz technique and has produced 5 CDs as a soloist and group leader.
In 2016 Major Vistas performed at Madison’s “Jazz At Five” series and the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium’s “Indigenous” series.
Tone Madison MInor Anthems Review
Madison-based trio Major Vistas’ debut album, Minor Anthems, crafts flowing and subtly ambitious instrumentals from a gentle palette of jazz, rock, and electronic sounds. Chris Bucheit’s mostly clean-toned guitars, Mike Weiser’s electric piano, and Geoff Brady’s drums give these songs an approachable surface, but also give the band a lot of room to explore a variety of textures and feels. Weiser and Bucheit dart around each other through the ascending figures of “Deep Space” as Brady weaves tastefully mutating grooves. “Beginning Mind” uses rich piano chords and delay-streaked guitar loops to craft a melody that’s at once conversational and ominous, with rhythms that alternate between mid-tempo rock and nimble swing. That versatility—and the band’s balance of hooks and improvisation—makes Major Vistas a worthy addition to Madison’s jazz offerings. – Scott Gordon • June 2016
“The beauty of Major Vistas is that each member of the trio brings unbelievable musicianship to the table helping to create their dynamic sound. You won’t believe that range of grooves, colors, and textures are coming from those three alone.”
Jamie Kember/Trombonist & Leader of The Big Payback/Madison College Jazz Band Director
Allaboutjazz.com/ A brief overview of several notable 2016 contemporary jazz releases featuring guitarists.
Major Vistas/Minor Anthems/Self Produced/2016. A fresh approach to the jazz trio, and the debut release from Madison, Wisconsin’s Major Vistas. Keyboardist Mike Weiser says he thinks of it as a modern “organ” trio, but he tends to use Fender Rhodes sounds more than Hammond low tones for the bass. The band cites guitarists John Scofield and Pat Metheny as influences (along with Medeski, Martin & Wood and The Bad Plus), but I’m more strongly reminded of John Abercrombie’s organ trios. Guitarist Chris Bucheit (who shares composition credits with Weiser) has a contemporary jazz guitar sound, but not as overdriven as Scofield tends to be. Drummer Geoff Brady completes the group. – Mark Sullivan • July, 2016
Badger Herald: Major Vistas promises live improv, deflection of genres. Local jazz band highly favors originality.
Local Madison jazz act Major Vistas is breaking away from genre limitations to give audiences a unique, live improvisational experience. A Craigslist ad, posted by Vista’s pianist Mike Weiser, brought together the three members who have encyclopedic backgrounds in music, ranging from rock to klezmer to video game composition. “ When it comes to our musical abilities, we like the idea of everyone being a bit of a chameleon,” Weiser said.
Their expansive background is ever-present in their 2016 release of“Minor Anthems,” an album in which each of the 12 tracks seems to grow organically from the last, void of any direct ties to genre or influence. Weiser is acutely aware of the deflection of genre in their music. “The more I play music the more I realize — it’s all just music,” Weiser said. “I feel like original music today isn’t necessarily trying to be entirely derivative. Most of the time when I listen to original music, it’s unique.”
With the goal of creating music that is inherently unique, Major Vistas pays special attention to improvisation. Many of the artists the band cites as inspiration are those who excel in improv, like guitarists Pat Metheny and John Scofield. “We created this band as a vehicle for improvisation,” Weiser said. “ To me it is what makes music exciting, the element of not knowing.”
It becomes clear music is more than just a pastime for the band through a conversation with Major Vistas or a listen to their new album. Rather, music has been a lifelong endeavor for each member. Each member of Major Vistas has gone through extensive collegiate-level music study and each has performed in various contests, solo productions and side groups. Guitarist Chris Bucheit studied at the Berklee Music Online school and won Guitar Magazine’s “Homegrown CD award” for his solo album “Hand to Mouth.” Drummer Geoff Brady studied at three different music academies, including University of Wisconsin’s, and performed with klezmer ensemble Yid Vicious. Today, Weiser continues to live and breathe music even when he’s not on stage with Major Vistas. Outside the band, Weiser teaches music to kids in the area.
Weiser’s mission to share musical experience as a teacher mirrors that of the Major Vistas’ mission. Weiser hopes to share new worlds of music and creativity with everyone who attends a Major Vistas show.
“People often come up to me after a show and say ‘I don’t know what that was, but I like it,’” Weiser said. “[Major Vistas] opens people’s minds to the fact that things don’t need to be tied to a genre to be enjoyed.”– Brian Vanden Hogen · Oct, 2016
“I love Major Vistas! Bucheit, Weiser and Brady are all master musicians, and the group plays only original material- what more can you want? Watching these guys perform, I’m always inspired by their natural group interplay, their strong individual voices and the joy and beauty of their compositions. Check out Minor Anthems, their recent release (mixed by Madison’s own powerhouse mixing engineer, Mike Zirkel!)- this CD is beautiful music played by three fantastic musicians!"
Mark Hetzler/Professor of Trombone/University of Wisconsin-Madison/Wisconsin Brass Quintet/former member of the Empire Brass
Mike Weiser: Keyboards
Chris Bucheit: Guitars
Michael Brenneis: Drums
Brad Townsend: Bass
Appropriate For: Concerts, shows, festivals, and workshops
Inspired By: John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Medeski/Martin/Wood, Herbie Hancock, The Bad Plus, Kneebody
Home Base: Madison, WI
Download EPK Zip File (46.3 MB)