Australian pianist Mark Isaacs has hit a long stride with his band Resurgence, releasing the band's fourth recording Duende. His three previous recordings with Resurgence: Resurgence (ABC Jazz, 2007), Tell It Like It Is (ABC Jazz, 2010), and Aurora Aurora (Gracemusic, 2011) have progressively probed the edges of contemporary jazz, filling out the sound that one might consider contemporary mainstream jazz." While lyrically and harmonically progressive, Isaac's music is immediately accessible. This is what separates it from a good deal of similar music, be it avant-garde on one hand and smooth jazz on the other. Isaac's music stylistically bisects these, ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more