Thursday, September 14, 2006

Brisbane Powerhouse Festival

I have curated another Cool Nights Hot Jazz festival at the Brisbane Powerhouse to take place September 22-24. Our exciting featured artists are the Japan-Australian Jazz Orchestra, Mike Nock Trio and the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra featuring Florian Ross. Full program details here. As part of the free entertainment in the Spark Bar I'm performing with vocalists Megan Washington, Elana Stone and Kristin Berardi in a series called Mark Isaacs and the Young Lionesses of Jazz.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Review of "Visions"

Mark Isaacs
Vortcity Music VM021309-2
There is some beautiful music here: music of loveliness, invention, naturalness and grace. It’s a long time since I’ve been seduced by such a musical experience as listening to an Australian jazz pianist. Mark Isaacs has never played better than he has in the past few years. The proof is here as with his trio – bassist Ben Waples and drummer James Hauptman – Isaacs explores his arrangements of some of the popular melodies from the 1960s and 1970s. I enjoyed this album more than his excursion into The Great American Songbook (Keeping The Standards) which I reviewed glowingly a few years ago. I’ve played this new offering several times daily in the past 48 hours finding more and more in the music on each occasion. Although some of the tracks – Henry Mancini’s Moon River, Lennon and McCartney’s The Fool On The Hill, Ewan Maccoll’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and Paul Simons’ The Sounds Of Silence – were enchanting when I first heard them, they get better with each re-hearing. It’s that kind of an album. He’s consistently inventive no matter what the tempo. The ballads provide a soft, romantic listening backdrop with Isaacs showing his deep respect for melody and harmony as he enriches them with restrained, lyrical sensitivity. His playing is a model of grace and lyricism of the highest order; listen to the gentle, touching melancholy of Moon River where the head and heart are in perfect accord. What an album!
Kevin Jones, 2MBS-FM "Fine Music" Magazine