Tag Archives: Tell It Like It Is



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

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.


Mark Isaacs Resurgence Band — CD Launch

Here are a few images from the Bennetts Lane launch of Tell It Like It Is by the Mark Isaacs Resurgence Band. It has been described glowingly as a “grouse” gig. There will be more details about the gig in this space soon, including news of Isaacs’ new red shoes. I am posting this now so that the order of blog posts reflects the order of the events covered. There are some pics of James Muller, but he was not well lit. Call back for more soon.

Matt Keegan
Matt Keegan

Brett Hirst
Brett Hirst

Isaacs and Keegan
Mark Isaacs and Matt Keegan

Matt Keegan
Matt Keegan on soprano sax

Tim Firth
Tim Firth