You might already be aware that the brilliant Mark Lockheart is heading to Turner Sims this Friday 4 October – but DID YOU KNOW that his ensemble includes the likes of guitarist John Parricelli (Loose Tubes), drummer Seb Rochford (Polar Bear), and TS favourite, trumpeter Laura Jurd?
Turner Sims Marketing Assistant Rosie Sewell talks to saxophonist Mark Lockheart ahead of his performance here…
RS: How would you describe Days on Earth for audience members who haven’t heard it before?
ML: Days On Earth is a suite of music combining jazz and classical techniques. This performance is a very different version of the music recorded on the CD which came out in Jan 2019. The 36 -piece line-up on the recording is reduced here to 8 instrumentalists and although keeping the essence of the recording is probably more fluid and open musically.
RS: There are many eclectic influences brought together in Days on Earth. What were some of the main influences and inspiration for this work?
ML: I wanted to follow my instinct when writing this music and not worry what style or genre it was heading. As a result I think there’s lots of varied inspirations from all kinds of places from composers like Gil Evans, Stravinsky and Bacharach to the music I played in Polar Bear and Perfect Houseplants for so many years. Obviously it’s jazz but also there are many contemporary classical techniques in there along with folk and world influences too.
RS: The Times commented that it is the ‘strength of melodies that marks [Days on Earth] out from the mass of Brit Jazz.’ Do you tend to gravitate towards melody first when you are writing your music?
ML: I probably do gravitate towards melody quite strongly with this project but the grooves and rhythms that Seb and Tom provide are really important. I also spent along time experimenting with orchestration to get the most effective combinations of textures and moods with the instruments I had at my disposal , that was really fun and a big learning curve for me.
RS: You’re collaborating with a fantastic group of musicians for this project. How did these collaborations come about?
ML: All the musicians involved in this project are special collaborators on many projects not just mine over the years. Seb and Tom were my partners in Polar Bear and throughout the 13 years together we got used to each other’s playing and approaches. I worked also with Liam Noble a lot on my own music in the last 10 years and it feels like he has a great understanding for the way I approach things. The front line instruments too are either old or new friends and they all have their own very distinct voices which is important to me.
RS: And finally, what would your dream day off be?
ML: Probably to not have to think about either practising or composing for a day or two, maybe a trip and walk in the country somewhere nice with a curry at the end!