Credits and About
Mark Lockheart Saxophones
Roger Sayer Organ
John Ashton Thomas Composer, arranger
Recorded at Temple Church London on January 10th 2016 and July 9th 2017
Produced by John Ashton Thomas and Mark Lockheart
Engineered/mixed and mastered by Alexander Van Ingen
Mark Lockheart, Roger Sayer & John Ashton Thomas
Salvator Mundi is the majestic and atmospherically rich album from saxophonist Mark Lockheart and organist Roger Sayer recorded in Temple Church, London, most recently renowned for the filming of the Da Vinci Code. More important is its beautiful acoustic, which is what, in part, inspired John Ashton Thomas (who has worked on many films including, most recently, Black Panther) to initiate this project. British jazz tyro Mark Lockheart (Loose Tubes, Polar Bear and a string of stunning and innovative albums for Edition Records) and Roger Sayer, one of the top three church organists in the UK, (but also known outside the rarified circle of great organists for playing on Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack for Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar), have collaborated on this extraordinary and unique exploration of choral music and improvisation.
As John prosaically puts it: “This project was my idea, and I composed or arranged all of the music. I was present at the recording sessions, and I hope I was able to guide Roger and Mark through this (to start with) unfamiliar musical landscape, which they both took to with enthusiasm, great skill and wonderful musical sensitivity. I simply chose pieces from the church music repertoire, with which I’m very familiar from my childhood experience as a cathedral chorister, and wrote a few others myself, that I thought would be complementary. It’s a coincidence that the music is nearly all written by English composers, but having said that, a substantial proportion of the music sung in Anglican cathedrals throughout the world is English in origin”.
However it’s clear from the first note that there’s a rare musical intelligence in the choice of music and place. As Mark says:“The space and acoustics of Temple Church play a massive part in the mood and character of this album. How would I describe this music? – to me it’s heavenly (whatever that means!) uplifting music that is both old and new. The sense that the majority of the music was composed long ago in England is powerful but also the combining of the freedom of improvising from a jazz perspective I think is really exciting.”
And Roger Sayer adds: “When recording these pieces we tried to convey the sweet and singing style appropriate to the voice but to allow the expression and freedom of the saxophone and improvisation in the extraordinarily beautiful acoustics of Temple Church. As with all music, a sense of listening and capturing the atmosphere is all important and I needed to balance the large sounds of the Temple organ and find colours that both complemented and varied the sounds created by the saxophone.”
The combination of place, composition and improvisation has created here a completely unique, exceptionally beautiful and emotionally uplifting album. Mark’s musical intelligence imparts new life to these ancient tunes, Roger’s sonorous and musically open tones demonstrate how broad his musical palette is and the new compositions give the whole project a modern edge ensuring its not simply an exercise in anachronism.
Salvator Mundi is beyond categorisation – a beautiful expression of artistic music produced with complete honesty and integrity by three extraordinary musicians and composers.
"'Salvator Mundi' is a beautiful, meditative album that moves beautifully between jazz and classical music."
You’ll probably be reminded of Jan Garbarek’s collaborations with the Hilliard Ensemble but in an entirely positive way."