Amazon.com Widgets

Recent Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Isaacs Resurgence Band: Aurora

Read "Aurora" reviewed by

The last artistic musical movement in jazz to be given a meaningful name was the post-bop movement. Arising out of the mid-1960s as a unifying response to hard bop, modal, the avant-garde and free jazz, post-bop has fairly well dominated the most creative jazz made in the last 30 years. If post-bop has a ground zero, it is the recordings of the second great Miles Davis Quintet (Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams), either collectively or separately. But, in this same previous 30 year span, jazz has been atomizing in such a way as ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Isaacs: Aurora

Read "Aurora" reviewed by

As Tell It Like It Is (ABC Jazz, 2009), amply proved, sometimes it's better to work with local musicians who, through regular touring, establish a singular collective voice. That's not to say Resurgence (ABC Jazz, 2007) was bad--it's hard to imagine anything with bassist Jay Anderson, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and saxophonist Bob Sheppard as lacking in the firepower department. Still, when looking at Australia-based pianist Mark Isaacs' discography of the past decade, the standout albums have invariably been those featuring fellow Aussies--lesser-known internationally, perhaps, but ultimately the ingredients of a much more compelling ensemble. Aurora also demonstrates ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Isaacs Resurgence Band: Tell It Like It Is

Read "Tell It Like It Is" reviewed by

Australian pianist Mark Isaacs has been recording forward-thinking progressive jazz for the past 25 years. His new millennium recordings have garnered popular response, including Closer (Naxos, 2000), Keeping the Standards (Vorticity Music, 2003), Visions (Vorticity Music, 2006), and Resurgence (ABC, 2007). During the last decade, Isaacs has been approaching a new assertive sound that unifies the more scripted elements of adult contemporary jazz with the improvisatory elements of the music's first 100 years.

Tell It Like It is was recorded live the Sound Lounge in Sydney, Australia in August, 2008. Isaacs lead his quartet through eight original compositions of sharply ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Isaacs Resurgence Band: Tell It Like It Is

Read "Tell It Like It Is" reviewed by

Sometimes it's better to work on home turf, with familiar musicians. Mark Isaacs' studio disc, Resurgence (ABC Jazz, 2007), paired the Australian pianist and guitarist James Muller--another Australian talent deserving of far greater attention--with American heavy hitters including drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Jay Anderson and saxophonist Bob Sheppard. But as fine as the relative miniatures of Resurgence were, Isaacs' revamped Resurgence Band and the extended workouts of the live Tell It Like It Is far surpass anything on the previous album to make it Isaacs' strongest jazz outing to date.

It's important to define Tell It ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Isaacs: Resurgence

Read "Resurgence" reviewed by

Australian pianist and composer Mark Isaacs has done more than most any other jazz musician to seal the fault line between serious modern jazz improvisation and “contemporary jazz or “adult oriented jazz. I tend to classify the former as the jazz father's and earlier genre traditionalists (bebop, hard bop, modal) and the latter as well-behaved, unobtrusive music made by nameless popular performers, selling millions of copies.

Isaacs, with every release, has refined his systematic approach to post-modernity jazz to the point that his sound defines what jazz should sound like at the advent of the 21st Century in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Isaacs: Resurgence

Read "Resurgence" reviewed by

After two albums exploring jazz standards and popular contemporary music--Keeping the Standards (Vorticity, 2004) and --Visions (Vorticity, 2006)--Australian pianist Mark Isaacs returns to original composition on Resurgence. A fixture on the Sydney scene, Isaacs has recruited his dream band for a strong program of contemporary mainstream jazz..

Isaac's American compatriots--bassist Jay Anderson, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and, on select tracks, woodwind multi-instrumentalists Bob Sheppard and Steve Tavaglione--have often intersected, but not all together in one room at the same time. Isaacs' inclusion of one fellow Aussie is significant--guitarist James Muller, a musical chameleon as capable of the Scofield/Metheny-esque on his own ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Isaacs: Visions

Read "Visions" reviewed by

Mark Isaacs, whose impressive resume includes associations with jazz greats such as Kenny Wheeler and Roy Haynes, as well as extensive forays into classical performance and composition, presents quite a puzzler with Visions. While it's certainly refreshing to see a capable musician take on popular tunes written after 1960, the album ultimately yields mixed results.Purists might argue that popular tunes written during the rock era are too harmonically static to warrant serious exploration. But such stasis certainly gives skilled improvisors lots of space and opportunity for inventive reharmonization and interpretation. Unfortunately, Issacs plays it safe, choosing to stick ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Isaacs: Visions

Read "Visions" reviewed by

Some people insist that contemporary music offers little grist for the imagination, but increasing numbers of jazz artists are proving that's simply not so. From Brad Mehldau to Dave Douglas and Herbie Hancock, new takes on material by artists as diverse as Radiohead, Nick Drake and BjÃrk are becoming an everyday occurrence.

Add Australian-based Mark Isaacs to the list of artists who are reinventing contemporary song. Isaacs, a pianist/composer who is equally comfortable in classical and jazz worlds--that, in itself, a more common occurrence as well--applied his imagination to traditional standards on his last release, Keeping the Standards (Vorticity, 2004). ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Isaacs: Keeping the Standards

Read "Keeping the Standards" reviewed by

Following up his 2000 release, Closer , Australian pianist Mark Isaacs turns away from original composition and instead examines the Great American Songbook in a programme of standards featuring bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Adam Nussbaum. The result is a marked reinvention of pieces including Hoagy Carmichael's “Skylark" and the Bernstein/Sondheim classic, “Somewhere."

A true multidisciplinary artist who is equally at home with classical composition/performance, soundtrack work and jazz, Isaacs's cerebral approach echoes that of Brad Mehldau. He is blessed with the same virtuosity and right/left hand independence, sometimes creating rich counterpoint between the two hands, as on his solo ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Isaacs: Keeping The Standards

Read "Keeping The Standards" reviewed by

Mark Isaacs' last recording, Closer , was one of 2000's jazz highlights. This contemporary jazz bristling with fresh ideas and razor sharp vision made several critics’ top ten lists. Three years later, Mr. Isaacs returns to experiment with the fertile ground of jazz standards on his trio live recording Keeping The Standards. Recorded at the Basement Lounge in Sydney, the Aussie is joined by bassist Jay Anderson (most recently of Lynne Arriale’s fine trio) and drummer Adam Nussbaum (stix for Patricia Barber). The result is a cross between the best of Gene Harris' Trios and Keith Jarrett’s Standards Trio.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Isaacs: Closer

Read "Closer" reviewed by

Naxos Jazz releases an exceptional contemporary jazz disc in Mark Isaacs' Closer. This disc joins the critic's short list of the best Naxos Jazz releases.

It has been easy for me to grow complacent when hearing new Naxos Jazz releases. As a rule, they have all proven interesting and listenable and very representative of the current state of Jazz. However, a couple of Naxos releases have come along that really impressed me and made it on my short-short list of favorite releases. The first was Larry Karush's Art of the Improviser (Naxos Jazz 86026). This disc investigated jazz from its ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Isaacs: Closer

Read "Closer" reviewed by

Naxos Jazz releases an exceptional contemporary jazz disc in Mark Isaacs' Closer. This disc joins the critic's short list of the best Naxos Jazz releases.

It has been easy for me to grow complacent when hearing new Naxos Jazz releases. As a rule, they have all proven interesting and listenable and very representative of the current state of Jazz. However, a couple of Naxos releases have come along that really impressed me and made it on my short-short list of favorite releases. The first was Larry Karush's Art of the Improviser (Naxos Jazz 86026). This disc investigated jazz from its ...



Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Mort Weiss

Mort Weiss

About | Enter

Rotem Sivan

Rotem Sivan

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Community Members

Join our growing community of
writers, musicians, visual artists and advocates.

Join Us Today!

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.