Saxophonist and composer Mark Lockheart first 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 and Radiohead.
In 2003 Mark joined Seb Rochford’s Polar Bear, which over a period of 12 years recorded six ground-breaking albums. The band’s second album, 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 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 premiered at the Royal Opera House in London in 2011.
In 2009 Mark’s quintet album In Deep was released to critical acclaim. 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 and Liam Noble. The album received numerous 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 Mark’s trio, Malija, with bassist Jasper Hoiby and pianist Liam Noble. Malija’s debut album The Day I Had Everything was released in December 2015 to critical acclaim. The group’s second album Instinct was released in 2017 followed by a 21-date tour.
In 2016 Mark was awarded Jazz FM Instrumentalist of the Year and also nominated for the British Composer Awards for his composition With One Voice. A few years later saw the birth of two very contrasting projects , the jazz/orchestral work titled Days On Earth for jazz sextet and 30-piece orchestra, released on Edition Records in January 2019 and a set of English Renaissance music ‘Salvator Mundi’ recorded at Temple church in London with organist Roger Sayer.
Mark’s latest recording and band ‘Dreamers’ with Elliot Galvin, Tom Herbert and Dave Smith was released in January 2022.