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Mark Lockheart | Days on Earth

Days On Earth epitomises the eclectic mix of influences and genres that have shaped Lockheart’s concepts – from the expansive improvising and lush soundscapes of Polar Bear to 70’s funk, African Kora type harp melodies and soaring strings.

Worldwide Release: 18th January 2019
Format: CD & Digital
CD Barcode:  5060509790517
CD Cat number: EDN1120

“The day we embarked on the recording of Days On Earth, 13th December 2017, I had been on Earth for 20,711 days. This also means that I’ve been on Earth for 2,958 weeks, 680 months, 497,000 hours, 30 million minutes and not far shy of 2 billion seconds. This record is a culmination of many of those experiences over the 2 billion seconds that I’ve been eating, sleeping, thinking, playing and composing music. Music is intrinsically connected to life, love and joy.”

30 piece orchestra conducted by JOHN ASHTON THOMAS


1.A View From Above 6.39
2. Brave World 2.48
3. This Much I Know Is True 7.23
4. Party Animal 8.55
5. Believers 9.49
6. Triana 5.07
7. Long Way Gone 9.41

Total 50.26

Days on Earth is Mark Lockheart’s most ambitious album to date, wrapping 25 years of musical and life influences into a one career-defining album. With a heavyweight band featuring some of the leading figures of British Jazz including Liam Noble, Tom Herbert, Seb Rochford and John Parricelli, and a 30 piece orchestra, Days on Earth combines off-kilter Polar Bear grooves with unique and fascinating orchestral colours, all beautifully performed by a specially assembled crack London orchestra. Days on Earth shines a spotlight on Mark both as an exemplary instrumentalist and as a fine composer, firmly establishing him as one of the most original voices in European Jazz.

Drawing from a vast palette of eclectic tastes, from cutting edge improvising to soaring strings, African Kora harp melodies and 70’s inspired funk, the album is structured as a ‘grand suite’. Each of the six movements is inspired by human traits and tendencies – a subtle comment on the state of our world: the fragility and strength of humankind (This Much I Know Is True), fundamentalism and those who fail to question their beliefs (Believers), the innate tendencies buried deep in our psyche that are sometimes the path to trouble (Party Animal) and reconciliation (Long Way Gone)

The distinctive melodies and unique orchestrations are full of colour, texture and dynamics and fully represent the diverse landscapes that Mark has experienced. Days on Earth draws together 25 years of touring, recording and composing and represents the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next – 2019 is set to bring a new small ensemble work and a new major direction for one of the finest UK jazz musicians.

“Days on Earth is a defining album for me, not just the scale of the instrumental forces, but also the epic culmination of many musical (and life) journeys. Twenty years ago (1998) I released my first album under my own name, ’Through Rose-Coloured Glasses’, which was all original music written for a 12-piece line-up called The Scratch Band. There’s a thread for sure from that early large ensemble writing to this.”

“I definitely had a sound world in my head from the first few bars of the work. Having said that though, Ellington, Gil Evans,  Polar Bear, Raymond Scott, Bacharach, John Adams, Don Ellis, John Zorn, Clare Fischer were all influences (if not always obvious).”

“The rhythm section of Seb, Tom, Liam and John was extremely important and the music was written very much around the way they play. A lot of the playing we did in Polar Bear was expansive and spacious and I wanted some of that on this record. I always wanted the two saxes (myself and Alice Leggett) to provide the funky element to the album. I didn’t want the saxes too polite and I love the way Alice phrases with me on this album.  The instrumentation with the brass/woodwind i.e. two of everything was interesting as I originally wanted more, but as the writing went on it all felt right with regard to orchestration.”

“The orchestra is a freelance orchestra made up of top players. Ideas for the personal came about by talking to lots of people that I’d worked with over the years like Jim Rattigan, John Parricelli, Roland Sutherland etc and getting recommendations. Parricelli suggested getting Jackie Shave to lead the strings and then she put me in touch with Tom Piggot Smith to fix the other strings. The plan was always to have an orchestra made up of classical and jazz musicians so that’s why I have Roland Sutherland pairing up with Anna Noakes (flutes) and James Allsopp ( bass clarinet) playing along Nick Rodwell (clarinet) who I first met and loved his playing when we played in Turnage’s Anna Nicole at the Royal Opera House.”  

“The studio was really important too. Mark Knopfler’s British Grove was perfect for this record, with just the right mixture of live space and isolated spaces for this record. My old college friend John Ashton Thomas conducted the music. He’s a Hollywood film conductor and orchestrator so it was amazing to have him involved.”


Produced by Mark Lockheart and Steve Baker. Executive Producer Dave Stapleton.
Recorded at British Grove Studios, London on December 13th and 14th 2017 by Martin Hollis
Mixed by Steve Baker www.stevebakermusic.com Mastered by Peter Beckman at Technology Works.

Violins: Jackie Shave (leader), Warren Zielinski, Rita Manning, Tom Piggot Smith, Magnus Johnston, Marije Johnston, Katherine Shave, Patrick Kiernan, Shlomy Dobrinsky, Tom Crehan, Ruth Ehrlich, William Hillman, Matthew Ward 

Violas: Bruce White, Oli Langford, Clare Finnimore, Paul Cassidy, Ruth Gibson

Cellos: Caroline Dearnley, Jonathan Tunnell, Jacqueline Thomas, David Daniels

Harp: Helen Tunstall

Clarinets: Nick Rodwell and James Allsopp

Flutes: Anna Noakes and Roland Sutherland

French Horns: Jim Rattigan and Laurence Davies

Trumpets: Pat White and Toby Street and Laura Jurd on tracks 4 & 7

Trombone: Alistair White , Bass Trombone: Andy Wood


1. A View From Above (openness) Mark Lockheart
2. Brave World (our fragile world) Tom Herbert
3. This Much I Know Is True (adoration) Mark Lockheart and John Parricelli
4. Party Animal (innate tendencies) Rowland Sutherland, Laura Jurd, Alice Leggett , Mark Lockheart and Liam Noble
5. Believers (fundamentalism) John Parricelli and Alice Legge
6. Triana (acceptance) Jackie Shave, Mark Lockheart and Liam Noble
7. Long Way Gone (reconciliation) Sebastian Rochford, Laura Jurd (noodling), Helen Tunstall, Tom Herbert, Liam Noble, Mark Lockheart, Nick Rodwell and Jackie Shave.

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