Saxophonist and composer Mark Lockheart first came to prominence in the mid 1980s with the influential big band Loose Tubes. Although classically trained as a clarinetist and saxophonist Mark’s love of Jazz was always destined to define his artistic direction. In 1992 Mark formed the eclectic co-led quartet Perfect Houseplants, a group that released six albums and collaborated with many adventurous classical artists including the Orlando Consort and violinist Andrew Manze.
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 2003 Mark joined Seb Rochford’s Polar Bear, which over a period of twelve years went on to record six 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 2007 Mark was a featured soloist (along with John Pattitucci and Gwilym Simcock) in Mark Anthony Turnage’s ‘About Water,’ which was premiered at 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 2009 Mark’s quintet album ‘In Deep’ was released on the Edition record label to critical acclaim – the Manchester Evening News awarded 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 which included Seb Rochford and Liam Noble. The CD of the project had many four and five-star reviews and was MOJO magazine’s ‘Jazz Album of 2013’ and nominated as ‘Best Jazz CD of 2013’ by the APPJC at the 2014 Parliamentary Awards.
An invitation to perform at the New York Rochester Jazz Festival in 2014 led to the formation of ‘Malija’, a trio with bassist Jasper Hoiby and pianist Liam Noble. Malija’s debut album ‘The Day I Had Everything’ was released on Edition in 2015 to critical acclaim and the group’s second CD, entitled ‘Instinct’, was released in 2017 and followed by a 21 date tour.
In 2016 Mark was awarded Jazz FM Instrumentalist of the year at the Jazz FM Awards and was nominated for the British Composer Awards for his composition ’With One Voice’. Most recently Mark has completed a major jazz/orchestral work entitled ‘Days On Earth’ which will be released on the Edition label in January 2019.