Saturday, January 28, 2006

New CD

My new CD Visions is now available here.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Weekend of music

Music can be a terribly solitary pursuit - particularly when completing a major work as I have been doing in composing my Preludes Book II - but this weekend has been a joy as I have been visited in my home by young musicians keen to hear my Preludes (which I have been practising quite a bit) and share their own musical journeys.

On Saturday classical pianist Simon Tedeschi came. Not quite 25 Simon is already something of a household name in Australia, a teenage prodigy and quite a character who often pops up on TV panel shows. Simon has a very strong interest in jazz too. It was great to finally hang out with him, a deep and penetrating musician.

Then today my good buddies Emily-Rose Blanchard (frequent commenter here) and Laura Altman came for a day of music and eating. Both have a seemingly insatiable appetite for music, and both compose as well as play with all their heart. They have only just finished school. Emily-Rose brought her new boyfriend Kirill Monorosi, a young concert pianist originally from Kazahkstan who studied in Moscow and now lives in Australia. He also composes and is the only person I have met outside Russia who appreciates Borjomi, the incredibly robust mineral water from Russian Georgia which I fell in love with in Moscow and have recently managed to obtain a case of (to the tame, it tastes like Alka-Seltzer!).

It's a cliche, but the future of the musical arts is in the hands of the likes of these young musicians and it gives me great hope.

Two more things about the Preludes. They are dedicated to my late teacher the wonderful concert pianist and pedagogue Igor Hemlnitsky. And here's a sample of 1 of the 39 pages.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Really done now

I have completed and checked the final score of my Piano Preludes Book II which was prepared in the Sibelius music notation program from my pencil draft. After several cycles of fine proofing I now have a bound copy on the piano and am proceeding to learn how to play them properly, will get together with a few musicians over the coming weeks and play them through. Meantime staying on track with media and promotions for the Powerhouse jazz festival and the Visions CD release and Australian tour.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

"Visions" Media Release

Media release
ADELAIDE: Friday 6 January 2006

Visions of 1960s & 70s popular songs arrive with a new iridescent jazz flavour

Mark Isaacs, pianist & composer
"Like [Keith] Jarrett at his best, what makes this set stand out from the plethora of piano trios covering the same material is the way that Isaacs re-imagines the tunes . . bristling with fresh ideas and razor sharp vision, Mark Isaacs has talent to burn" All About Jazz (USA)

Mark Isaacs Trio touring Nowra, Canberra, Darwin, Perth, Melbourne & Sydney - February & March 2006

Visions is Mark Isaacs' latest project for his trio, featuring jazz arrangements of 1960s and 70s popular songs. During February and March, the Mark Isaacs Trio will perform this music throughout Australia, to coincide with the launch of their Visions CD, released on the Vorticity Music label.

Mark Isaacs says, "Visions features lyrical and dynamic jazz interpretations of classic popular songs from the 1960s and 70s by songwriters such as Lennon/McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Paul Simon and Henry Mancini."

The Visions CD's liner notes feature a substantial piece of creative writing by the Australian novelist and jazz enthusiast Miriam Zolin which she wrote in response to this new CD.

For this tour and CD, Mark is joined by two of Sydney's leading younger generation jazz musicians, bassist Ben Waples and drummer James Hauptmann.

Previously in August and October 2005 they gave sell-out performances in Sydney, Brisbane, Bathurst and at the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz, with the National Jazz Award winning vocalist, Elana Stone.

"Visions is a project that is close to my heart. My approach to arranging and producing these songs has been to respect the original melodies of the great songwriters and to re-imagine them by adding new harmonies, rhythms and colours to further enhance the songs' emotive content" remarks Mark.

The songs that Mark Isaacs has arranged for this tour and CD are:

  • Visions (Stevie Wonder)
  • Fool on the Hill (John Lennon/PaulMcCartney)
  • Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell)
  • Fire and Rain (James Taylor)
  • The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Ewan Maccoll)
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane (John Denver)
  • Sounds of Silence (Paul Simon)
  • Moon River (Henry Mancini/JohnnyMercer)
In 2004, Mark Isaacs released the CD, Keeping the Standards featuring arrangements of standards of an earlier era such as Skylark, Gone With the Wind and Somewhere which received rave reviews. The Australian Financial Review wrote of it: "As playful and serious as art can be."

Visions continues in this tradition while using more recent source material and will make listeners rediscover, ponder and deepen their love of 1960's and 70's popular music.

February is shaping up to be a busy month for Mark Isaacs. He will undertake a two-week Senior Artist Residency at the late Arthur Boyd's property, Bundanon outside Nowra, NSW. He has been invited back to the Brisbane Powerhouse as Curator of their Jazz Festival Program, following the sell-out success of Cool Nights Hot Jazz last August. Mark has curated their upcoming jazz festival, Hot Nights Cool Jazz, occurring February 10 to 12.

Artists that Mark Isaacs has invited to perform at the Brisbane Powerhouse's Hot Nights Cool Jazz include the brilliant Australian jazz musicians, James Muller (guitar), Paul Grabowsky (piano), Scott Tinkler (trumpet) and the acclaimed US jazz piano trio, the Lynne Arriale Trio.

While residing at Bundanon, Mark Isaacs will begin work on a long planned book about music and music-making and will give the first concert for the Visions tour.

Later in 2006, he will premiere Stuart Greenbaum's piano concerto, composed especially for Mark, The Last Signal at Sydney's Aurora New Music Festival with the Australian Youth Orchestra on April 29. Also this year he will record a CD of original jazz compositions in Los Angeles with a band of leading Australian and US jazz musicians.

Mark Isaacs Trio February & March 2006 Tour Diary

National: Saturday 18 February @ 10am-noon, repeated 10pm-midnight
ABC Radio National "The Music Show" with Andrew Ford. Live performance from the Eugene Goosens Hall, where the Visions CD was recorded.

Nowra NSW: Saturday 18 February @ 5pm
Arthur Boyd's Bundanon, Tickets: $25/$20 Bookings: (02) 4422 2100

Canberra: Thursday 2 March @ 8.30pm
Southern Cross Club, 92 Corinna Street Phillip, Tickets: $15 Bookings: (02) 6283 7200

Darwin: Saturday 4 March @ 8pm
Darwin Entertainment Centre, 93 Mitchell Street, Darwin, Tickets: $32/$29 Bookings: (08) 8980 3333

Melbourne (CD launch): Sunday 5 March @ 8:30pm (doors open 8pm)
Bennetts Lane Jazz Lab, 25 Bennetts Lane, Melbourne, Tickets: $15/$12 Bookings: (03) 9663 2856

Perth: Monday 6 March @ 5pm
Hyde Park Hotel, 331 Bulwer Street, Perth, Tickets: Perth Jazz Society Members $20, Concessions $22, Guests $25, WAAPA Students $20, No bookings, tickets at the door. Info: (08) 9284 2578

Sydney (CD launch): Tuesday 7 March @ 9.30pm
The Basement, 29 Reiby Place, Circular Quay, Tickets: $16 Bookings (02) 9251 2797

For further information, interviews, pics, recordings & media tickets, please contact:
PHONE: 0438 829 728
Read media release

Monday, January 02, 2006

Mass music

jiggling nervously on the spot to some fluffy electro-pop confection
From today's Sydney Morning Herald. An apt description of how New Year's Eve tends to be celebrated musically. Though not at my gig, a few hundred metres from the fireworks.