Mark Lockheart's project Ellington in Anticipation has won MOJO's Jazz CD of the Year for 2013.
Taking many of Ellington's most revered compositions, Mark deconstructed and arranged these characterful melodies into a fascinating set of new music, rich in orchestration and concept and entirely respectful to the beauty of Ellington's original creations.
Featuring some of the most exciting and original musicians in the UK, this is a unique and radical project which beautifully combines the old with the new, and the resulting CD tops MOJO's jazz album list.
The all-star seven-piece group includes Mark (saxophone - Parliamentary Jazz Musician of the year 2010, Loose Tubes, Polar Bear etc ), Seb Rochford (drums) Liam Noble (piano), Tom Herbert (bass), Finn Peters (alto sax), James Allsop (clarinets) and Margrit Hasler (viola).
Mark told the Flash: "Ellington In Anticipation was conceived and workshopped at Trinity Laban over the course of a year with some exceptional Year 4 jazz students. I'm extremely grateful to both students and Simon Purcell, the Head of Jazz, for facilitating a hugely creative environment where I was able to experiment with Ellington's great compositions."
MOJO's Chris Ingram - who put together the Top 10 list - said: "The familiar titles belie the disarming originality of this record. Core Ellingtonian melodies remain intact but everything else (harmony, rhythm, structure) is rearranged for septet with wit, ingenuity and boldness. Interspersing with Ellington-inspired originals, saxophonist/arranger Lockheart has hit upon a delightful solution to the old/new wrangle."
The Guardian's jazz critic, John Fordham, said: "Saxophonist Mark Lockheart has been quietly evolving into one of the UK jazz scene's outstanding composers... Lockheart's Ellington reinventions are radical, but never less than heartfelt tributes."
Ellington in Anticipation is available to buy from Mark's website, http://marklockheart.co.uk/
Picture credit - Tim Dickenson