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CD REVIEW -
Mark Lockheart Quintet
Mark Lockheart Quintet: In Deep
Mark Lockheart - tenor saxophone,
Dave Priseman - trumpet,
Liam Noble - piano,
Jasper Holby - bass,
Dave Smith - drums
Editon Records 2009
Mark Lockheart came to prominence with Loose Tubes in the mid-1980s; and after the demise of the band, in 1990, he formed the Perfect Houseplants Quartet, which went on to release six albums. He has both played and recorded with numerous prominent artistes, including: John Parricelli, Django Bates, Billy Jenkins, John Pattitucci, Gwilym Simcock and Martin France.
His musical achievements are wide and varied and include: a commission for suite of music inspired by dance forms; a substantial bank of recordings; collaborations involving opera; as well as the composition of plays for Radio 4. In 2010, he won the Parliamentary Jazz Musician of the Year award.
This CD was awarded five stars by the Manchester Evening News which claimed it to be 'the key record of the second golden age of British jazz.’ It is a further step in the emergence of Mark Lockheart as a leading figure on the UK and European jazz scene. With a grounding firmly rooted in associations with the likes of Django Bates and Gwilym Simcock, one would hardly expect otherwise.
The recording opens with Stairway, a short recital by Mark Lockheart which prepares the way for what follows. Surfacing finds the Quintet stretching out for the longest track of the set.
Besides the impeccable playing of Lockheart, one of the most impressive performances throughout the CD is that of Dave Priseman on trumpet. Listen particularly to his renditions on Golden People and the shorter, but equally striking, Undercovers, with its Latin beat. At times, there is a distinct flavour of early Miles Davis.
Not in my Name opens with an engaging exchange between Lockheart and Priseman before the Quintet emerges into full flight offering something of a big band sound.
Not to be outshone, pianist, Liam Noble, plays Falling as a contemplative and atmospheric solo piece, while Mark Lockheart takes a finely delicate solo on Sand into Gold.
The compositions on this album are all by Mark Lockheart. They do not all make for easy listening at first blush, but after two or three plays, the quality of jazz is plain to hear and the listener will be amply rewarded by the sheer excellence of the music - which, incidentally, full deserves the plaudits of the Manchester Evening News!