Moving Air (Basho SRCD 14-2) is a new studio album from acclaimed saxophonist and composer Mark Lockheart and is his first solo album for three years. Moving Air is a fascinating and passionate statement featuring Mark's saxophone and bass clarinet playing in a number of instrumental combinations and textures, from a clarinet and drum duet to a jazz quartet and even a sax quintet. Mark’s carefully crafted compositions become vehicles for each musician’s improvisations, always keeping the music fresh and spontaneous. The compositions explore improvisation, texture and grooves and although coming from jazz, the music draws upon a wide range of influences including contemporary classical, folk and world. One critic recently described Mark’s music as:
“a beautiful type of orchestral world jazz”.
On Moving Air, Mark plays all the reeds and is joined by drum supremo Martin France, guitarist John Parricelli and bassist Dudley Phillips.
Lockheart – saxophones, clarinets
compositions by Mark Lockheart copyright mcps/prs
Mark first came to prominence in the mid 80’s with the influential big band Loose Tubes. The formation of the co-led Perfect Houseplants in 1993 saw the emergence of one of Mark’s most important groups, which is still very much developing today. Throughout the 90’s Mark toured extensively with Django Bates Delightful Precipice and the Houseplants as well as recording and touring with jazz, folk and pop artists Prefab Sprout, June Tabor, Stereolab, Jah Wobble, Don Um Romao, Huw Warren and Radiohead. More recently Mark can be seen and heard with Seb Rochfords quartet Polar Bear, who have just been nominated for the Mercury Prize, The Works (Nic France, Neville Malcolm and Patrick Wood) and Disassembler, another new group featuring Seb Rochford, Dudley Phillips and guitarist Trevor Warren. Latter in the year see’s the release of God Only Knows, a new album, performing re-workings of Welsh Hymns with pianist Huw Warren and vocalist Lleuwen Steffan and guitarist Trevor Warren. Mark has also recently been the guest composer/conductor performing his own music with the prestigious Hamburg based NDR Big Band.
“Lockheart is a consummate saxophonist and a original and versatile composer” The Rough Guide to Jazz.
“with a huge stylistic and emotional range , Lockheart’s music is contemporary and compelling” Mojo
“Lockheart creates the most inviting musical landscapes, alive with fresh, bright, instrumental combinations and harmonies” The Observer
“Lockheart’s spacious improvising is a refreshing antidote to many tenor players exploring Coltrane vocabulary” Time Out
"Jazz may be a marginalized genre, but that condition seems at odds with the wealth of outstanding artists moving it forward. And when you consider regionalization, both stylistically and geographically, it can be almost insurmountable to keep track of jazz’s ongoing evolution. Consequently, most artists find themselves working in insular surroundings, working with the same circle of players and performing in the same venues, even as they fight to expand their horizons.
Britain has maintained its own jazz community for decades, with only an exceptional few reaching beyond its boundaries to international audiences. That's a shame, as a remarkable number of British players deserves the kind of exposure to which American artists have easier access. Some, like woodwind multiinstrumentalist Tim Garland, seem constantly poised on the brink of greater fame through association with American artists (in Garland’s case, with pianist Chick Corea). Others, like alto saxophonist Martin Speake, clearly have what it takes, but they never get the breaks in the larger global marketplace.
Woodwind multi-instrumentalist Mark Lockheart is another case in point. Part of the influential 1980s big band Loose Tubes, he’s become an active part of the UK music scene in ensuing years. He belongs to two of Britain’s premier contemporary jazz units: Polar Bear and Disassembler. He’s also recorded with Radiohead, Prefab Sprout, and Jah Wobble, extending his reach in other styles.
Moving Air—his tenth album—finds him with a quartet equally deserving of broader recognition. Guitarist John Parricelli is Britain’s Vic Juris, a player who can handle virtually anything, despite having eluded the fame of players like Metheny, Scofield, and Frisell. Martin France is an equally flexible drummer who has had some international exposure with Django Bates and Tim Berne’s Bloodcount. Rounding out the quartet, bassist Dudley Phillips is equally versed in traditional styles and contemporary concerns.
There are a number of significant parallels between Lockheart and American saxophonist David Binney. Like Binney, Lockheart favors long-form composition that's almost mathematical in its precision. He’s also intrigued by a larger ensemble sound—something he achieves on Moving Air through copious amounts of overdubbed woodwinds, piano, and Fender Rhodes. And like Binney, he has an instrumental dexterity that allows him to create lines of surprising depth and complexity, even as they retain a purer, highly personal melodicism.
The most remarkable thing about Moving Air is Lockheart’s ability to make the multitracking process feel organic. On three of the album’s nine tracks, he layers saxophones, clarinets, and keyboards, with only France accompanying, and yet everything sounds and feels vivid and alive. Elsewhere, odd meters and displaced rhythms abound, blended with themes that seamlessly shift between unison and counterpoint, creating richly detailed backdrops that paradoxically encourage, rather than impede, imaginative improvisation.
Lockheart living in New York, he’d likely be a part of the circle
that includes Binney, saxophonist Chris Potter, guitarist Adam Rogers,
and bassist Scott Colley. That's recommendation enough for jazz fans outside
the UK to step beyond their own defined circles and check out a player
as contemporary and significant as any of his American counterparts".
"British saxophonist and composer Mark Lockheart gets around a lot - as half of the Polar Bear sax section for instance - but this is his first solo album for three years. Lockheart's personal territory involves the quirkily countermelodic composing approach of Django Bates (with whom he worked in the late 1980s in Loose Tubes) and something similar to the lyrical, distantly folksy private world of John Surman. The saxophonist is partnered here by old Loose Tubes alumni John Parricelli (guitar), Dudley Phillips (bass) and Martin France (drums).
Some of it is distinctly Tubes-like, some could be superficially mistaken for cuts from John Surman solo albums, with their sighing chords, floating, faintly melancholy themes, bitter-sweet soprano sax and sonorous bass clarinet. Maybe a little over-orderly in its meticulously interlocking parts, but subtle, and undoubtedly appealing to the Garbarek/Surman persuasion". John Fordham, The Guardian
"Ex- Loose Tuber and Polar Bear member Mark Lockheart's Moving Air is a multi-layered work that sets his sax and haunting bass clarinet against gentle electronics, multi tracked horns and beautifully textured contemporary tunes, and with John Parricelli and Martin France on board reminds us that the influence of Loose Tubes lives on". Time Out, Oct 2005
"Moving Air is an absorbing, personal work that draws on influences including classical and folk to create backdrops that serve as the launch pad for individual improvisations. Lockheart overdubs wind instruments to bring an orchestral feel to most of the tracks, and his solos have sharpness and warmth. Guitarist John Parricelli is a perfect foil, and between them they produce jazz of a very high order". Andrew Vine, Yorkshire Post.