Tag Archives: Mark Isaacs



Aurora — Mark Isaacs Resurgence Band

3.5 stars

AS composer, arranger, producer and band­leader, Isaacs is considered and meticulous, which is a good description of this studio album.

Compared with the previous, more visceral live album, Tell It Like It Is, which comes as a bonus DVD in this release, Aurora has a decorative, almost embroidered feel that reflects Isaacs’ nurture.

He has James Muller play electric and acoustic guitar in Bagatelle
and Threnody, which is ornamented like fine porcelain. Robust For the
has great solos from Muller, Matt Keegan (sax) and Brett Hirst (bass), but they remain contained. The title track builds slowly, like tension before the Wet in Darwin.

The Resurgence Band here is about finesse, cohesion and intricacy rather than bold statements or stretching boundaries.

Download: For the Road, Bagatelle

File between: Tim Stevens, Keith Jarrett


This review was also published in the Play liftout of the Sunday Herald Sun on January 30, 2011



Ausjazz was out of town for a week and missed some significant gigs:

MARK ISAACS TRIO — June 20, 2010

Sydney-based pianist/composer Mark Isaacs returned to Melbourne with a new trio collaboration with acoustic bassist Sam Anning and drummer Dave Beck.

EDELPLASTIK and THE OUTFIT — June 22, 2010

Daniel Brates, Sarah Holmes, Diego Villalta, Rob Simone, Liam McGorry and Louise Goh make up two bands playing sets of different original music.

The Outfit plays original, fun jazzy tunes inspired by everyday events in the life of bassist Sarah Holmes — songs about bicycles, Melbourne streets, a dodgy pancreas, coffee and a young man who looks like Jesus.

Edelplastik combines the qualities of late ’60s jazz and progressive music from the decades that follow, with compound time signatures and piquant harmonies.


Marc Hannaford (piano), Scott Tinkler (trumpet) and James McLean (drums) explore time, speed and structure in group improvisation.


Launch of album On A Clear Day, with Oehlers on tenor sax, Grabowsky on piano, Sam Anning on bass and Ben Vanderwal on drums. Grabowsky: “With this project, we have brought our personal approaches to line, harmony and rhythm to … standards, some very well-known and well-travelled, others perhaps less so.” Oehlers: These are tunes that we love, that mean something to us, that have inspired us to create this type of music throughout our lives. With my long-term friends and band members, Ben Vanderwal and Sam Anning joining us, this recorded music became joyful, inspiring, introspective and heartening.”

Thanks to Bennetts Lane website and the liner notes for On A Clear Day for the material above.

Tell It Like It Is — Mark Isaacs Resurgence Band

Tell It Like It Is

(ABC Jazz)

AT Wangaratta Festival of Jazz in 2007, when this band played You Never Forget Love, it was as if Isaacs felt every nuance and played it, James Muller’s guitar avoided maudlin and Matt Keegan’s sax conveyed tenderness and acceptance of loss. This was love departed, but lingering.

Now Isaacs on piano, Muller, Keegan, Brett Hirst on bass and Tim Firth on drums — an Australian version of his LA Resurgence album band — have released eight Isaacs compositions on a live album recorded at the Sound Lounge, Sydney, last year.

This powerhouse band does not pussyfoot around in the vigorous Minsk, with its expansive piano, catchy melody and driving rhythms, and the full-on Tell It Like It Is, with forceful sax, guitar and bass solos and an effective, piano-driven finale.

Yet there is not only strength. Isaacs has great presence in his solo, Night Song Part 2, and Homecoming contrasts big sax with delicate piano and guitar before they build up the energy and tempo. Lush, full-bodied bossa nova Angel sways to a glorious conclusion.

This resurgence is better than the first.