Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Coming up

Quite a bit happening the next few months.

I am premiering Stuart Greenbaum's piece The Last Signal - a kind of piano concerto - with players from the Australian Youth Orchestra on Saturday April 29 at the Aurora Festival in Sydney. A distinguished international guest at the festival is composer Terry Riley - along with Steve Reich and Phillip Glass one of the fathers of American minimalism - and Terry will in fact perform his seminal piece In C that started it all on the same bill as me.

As well I am revising my Third String Quartet and working on a commission for the Sydney Philharmonia Choir (a setting of an ee cummings sonnet). Also I plan to record a demo of my recently-completed piano preludes in May.

Apart from that I am getting ready for my new jazz CD recording project in LA in June. Australian guitarist James Muller and I will join forces with Americans bassist Jay Anderson, saxophonist Steve Tavaglione and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta to record my original jazz pieces in Los Angeles with Chick Corea's engineer Bernie Kirsh.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Yet another Visions review

Sydney pianist Mark Isaacs' strengths are his lyrical eloquence and ability to transport the listener to unexpected places. That makes the repertoire here, a collection of '60s pop classics, such a perfect space. Lately, there have been a few '60s-meets-jazz events but this is one of the best, thanks to the artist's imagination and bassist Ben Waples and drummer James Hauptmann. The trio takes the familiar and transforms it. The title track, a Stevie Wonder classic, is turned into an elegiac anthem. One of the two stand-out tracks, Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now, is contemplative and complex as Isaacs colours it with modulations from outside the chord finishing in an incantation that goes right through you. The second is John Denver's Leaving on a Jet Plane, that for the first time ever really swings. And, as a final surprise, he transforms Moon River without a trace of the usual schmaltz. -- LEON GETTLER The Age

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

"Visions" tour completed

The Visions tour ended last night with a very satisfying concert at The Basement in Sydney. Here is the review of the Perth concert.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Another "Visions" review

The Visions tour is underway. Posting from steamy, tropical Darwin where we play tonight. New review of the CD here.