Saxophonist and composer Mark Lockheart came to prominence in the mid 1980s with the influential big band Loose Tubes. In 1992 Mark formed the eclectic co-led quartet Perfect Houseplants, a group that released six albums and collaborated with classical artists such as the Orlando Consort, Andrew Manze and Pamela Thorby. The mid-90s saw Mark recording and performing with many jazz, folk and pop artists including Django Bates, Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, June Tabor, Stereolab, Jah Wobble, Robert Wyatt, Prefab Sprout, Don Um Romao, Thomas Dolby, Anja Garbarek and Radiohead. In 1997 Mark was awarded the Peter Whittingham Award to record his semi-orchestral eleven-piece group the Scratch Band. This formed the basis of his debut CD "Through Rose-Coloured Glasses," which was released in 1998 to critical acclaim and voted by Time Out as one of the ˜Top Ten Albums of 1998"™ A commission in 2000 from the Cheltenham International Jazz Festival led to a suite of pieces inspired by dance forms, which led to the Scratch Band's second album, "Imaginary Dances" (Staytuned Records, 2002). In 2003 Mark joined Seb Rochford's Polar Bear, which went on to record five ground-breaking albums. The band's second CD, 'Held On The Tips Of Fingers,' was nominated for the 2005 Mercury Award and later appeared in Jazzwise's "100 Albums That Shook the World." The band's fifth album 'In Each And Every Way' was also nominated for a Mercury award in 2013. In 2005, Mark released "Moving Air" (Basho records), featuring John Parricelli, Martin France and Mark's multi-tracked reeds. In 2007 Mark was a featured soloist (along with John Pattitucci and Gwilym Simcock) in Mark Anthony Turnage's "About Water" which was premiered on the Southbank in June 2007. Mark collaborated several times more with Turnage, performing his 'A Man Descending' with the Southbank Sinfonia in 2008 and more recently as one of the featured musicians in Turnage's opera "Anna Nicole" which was premiered at the Royal Opera House in London in Feb 2011. In 2009 Mark's quintet album 'In Deep' was released to critical acclaim - the Manchester Evening News gave it five stars and said it was 'the key record of the second golden age of British jazz. The following year saw the release of Mark's first big band album "Days Like These" with the Hamburg-based NDR big band. That same year Mark was awarded APPJC "Parliamentary Jazz Musician of the Year 2010."™ In 2013 Mark released "Ellington In Anticipation" a radical reworking of Ellington melodies with an all-star line up, including Seb Rochford, Liam Noble, Finn Peters, James Allsop and Tom Herbert. The CD had many four and five-star reviews and was MOJO magazine's ˜Jazz Album of 2013" and was nominated as "Best Jazz CD of 2013" by the APPJC at the 2014 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. An invitation to perform at the New York Rochester Jazz Festival in 2014 led to the formation of MALIJA with pianist Liam Noble and bassist Jasper Hoiby.
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