Saxophonist and composer Mark Lockheart first came to prominence in the mid 1980s with the influential big band Loose Tubes.
As well as leading many of his own groups Mark has been a key member of some of the most influential UK jazz groups including Perfect Houseplants and Polar Bear. Mark has also contributed to many key recordings over the last twenty five years including records with Django Bates, Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, Colin Towns, June Tabor, Stereolab, Jah Wobble, Robert Wyatt, Prefab Sprout, Thomas Dolby, The Orlando Consort and Radiohead.
Mark’s debut album Through Rose Coloured Glasses came about after being awarded the Peter Whittingham Award in 1997 to record his semi-orchestral eleven-piece group the Scratch Band. Through Rose-Coloured Glasses was released in 1998 to critical acclaim and voted by Time Out as one of the ‘Top Ten Albums of 1998.’ A commission in 2000 from the Cheltenham International Jazz Festival led to a suite of pieces inspired by dance forms, which became the Scratch Band’s second album entitled Imaginary Dances.
In 2003 Mark joined Seb Rochford’s Polar Bear, which over a period of ten years went on to record six ground-breaking albums. The band’s second CD, Held On The Tips Of Fingers, was nominated for the 2005 Mercury Award and later appeared in Jazzwise’s ’100 Albums That Shook the World.’ The band’s fifth album In Each And Every Way was also nominated for a Mercury award in 2013. In 2005, Mark released Moving Air (Basho records), featuring John Parricelli, Martin France and Mark’s multi-tracked reeds. A major Arts Council-funded tour followed later that year to promote the album.
In 2007 Mark was a featured soloist (along with John Pattitucci and Gwilym Simcock) in Mark Anthony Turnage’s About Water, which was premiered on the Southbank in June 2007. Mark collaborated several times more with Turnage, performing his A Man Descending with the Southbank Sinfonia in 2008 and more recently as one of the featured musicians (alongside Peter Erskine and John Paul Jones) in Turnage’s opera Anna Nicole which was premiered at the Royal Opera House in London in Feb 2011 and then performed again in Sept 2014.
In 2009 Mark’s quintet album In Deep was released to critical acclaim - the Manchester Evening News awarded it five stars and said it was ’the key record of the second golden age of British jazz.’ The following year saw the release of Mark’s first big band album Days Like These with the Hamburg-based NDR big band. That same year Mark was awarded APPJC ‘Parliamentary Jazz Musician of the Year 2010.’
In 2013 Mark released Ellington In Anticipation, a radical reworking of Ellington melodies with an all-star line up, including Seb Rochford, Liam Noble, Finn Peters, James Allsop and Tom Herbert. The CD had many four and five-star reviews and was MOJO magazine’s ‘Jazz Album of 2013’ and nominated as ‘Best Jazz CD of 2013’ by the APPJC at the 2014 Parliamentary Awards.
An invitation to perform at the New York Rochester Jazz Festival in 2014 led to the formation of Mark’s latest group, a trio ’Malija’ with pianist Liam Noble and bassist Jasper Hoiby. Malija’s debut CD was released in Dec 2015 to critical acclaim and the band is currently on tour in the UK.
In May 2016 Mark was awarded the Jazz FM Instrumentalist of the year.
I wrote this piece in March 2015 for my Malija Trio (with Jasper Hoiby and Liam Noble) and the Legeti Quartet. We first performed the piece at Kings Place Hall 2 on December 12 2015.
With One Voice is built on a repeated chord sequence that gradually introduces melodic fragments until eventually introducing the whole melody towards the middle of the piece. The saxophone improvises on the chord sequence throughout the beginning and middle sections, its not until the end that the saxophone finally takes over the melody.
The strings initially start as backing harmonies but gradually explore fragments of the melody until the 1st violin ( with accompaniment ) plays the entire melody at figure C.The final melody statement is from the saxophone and violin.
The stillness, atmosphere and mood are vital to this piece both in recording and performances of this piece.
With One Voice was released on a CD entitled The Day I Had Everything on the Edition record label in November 2015.