Avant-garde, experimental improvised music, USA and Beyond

‘Encounters’ – Mark Isaacs – Dave Holland – Roy Haynes

Mark Issacs Encounters

Mark Isaacs’ ground breaking ‘Encounters’ album has just been re-released for the third time and no wonder.  This is an important musical statement by any measure and it sits comfortably beside similar works by Jarrett and Corea.   I don’t say that lightly, as the aforementioned artists explorations into free improvisation set lofty benchmarks.

Mark Isaacs is somewhat of a prodigy as he works across all genres of Jazz, is a gifted composer and has a well established classical career.  His Jazz charts are particularly impressive as he often voices his pieces in modern and compelling ways.  As if that were not enough he has composed a symphony (recently performed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra – I have heard this impressive work).  Because Mark is such a multi faceted artist it is harder to buttonhole him and perhaps that is the point.  Great musicians shouldn’t be pinned down.   It is the nature of improvised music that it constantly shifts like the coloured grains of sand in a great Mandala; elusive and yet leaving an indelible image behind.  When it’s done well the impressions that remain will outdo the notation.  This album achieves that.

Because the album has not been available since 1995 I hadn’t heard it before.  When I did it truly surprised me.  I was expecting a good album as the triumvirate of Isaacs, Holland and Haynes creates high expectations.  What I was unprepared for was just how deeply it affected me.   To explain this better a back-story is required .  An indication of how this album came to be.

The recording dates from 1988.  This was a time when the mainstream music world had become mired in techno-commercialism and to the credit of the Jazz community it chose to delve deeper into experimental music; pushing harder against musical boundaries.   This was the time of Jarrett’s ‘Changeless’ and ‘Dark Intervals’ albums and discriminating listeners were up for it.  Dave Holland was no stranger to this type of project as he had participated in and initiated many avant-garde projects since the sixties.   Mark Isaacs (an Australian) was in New York at the time having just heard some of his chamber works performed by the Australian Ensemble in Carnegie Hall.   He felt ready to record something challenging so he contacted Dave Holland who immediately agreed to participate.  I am not sure how Roy Haynes came to the project but the choice was fortuitous.  A bop-pioneer drummer who had played with Lester Young and Charlie Parker plus a cutting edge experimentalist bass player were on board.  Both had played in Miles Davis bands (but not at the same time).  Both had an interest in the avant-garde.

No rehearsals were held, no charts used and none of these artists had ever played together before.  What you have here is a tight rope act undertaken by an Australian, an ex-pat Englishman and a New Yorker.  The result could have fallen flat but what happened was truly amazing.  Deep intuitive communication and an interplay which sounded more like a trio that had been together for years, not minutes.  In this recording there is a profound sense of space and limitless vistas seem to unfold before you.  The album is just over thirty minutes long and packed within that thirty minutes is a world of diversity.   At certain points one or other of the musicians is leading the conversation, while at other points they appear to seize upon an idea at the same time.  This is artistry of the highest order and I urge anyone reading this to purchase a copy while stocks last.

It is available on iTunes but as an audiophile I recommend that you purchase the CD.  The recording quality is superb and the sound so immediate that you gain a real sense of the studio it was recorded in.  A lot of recordings could have been recorded anywhere, but this one conveys a sense of location.  Many of the ECM recordings have that feel and the Rainbow Studios in Oslo immediately come to mind.  The album was recorded at the Power Station studios in New York, which incidentally is where Jarrett’s ‘Changless’ was recorded at about the same time.

Twenty five years on, the album still sounds fresh and engaging.

The Album is available from Mark Isaacs Website: http://markisaacs.com/9-latest-news/13-encounters-with-dave-holland-roy-haynes-available-now

Advertisements

28 thoughts on “‘Encounters’ – Mark Isaacs – Dave Holland – Roy Haynes

  1. I absolutely love your website.. Pleasant colors & theme.

    Did you develop this amazing site yourself? Please reply
    back as I’m planning to create my own personal site and would like to find out where you got this from
    or what the theme is called. Appreciate it!

  2. Thanks for any other informative blog. Where else may just I get that type of information written in such an ideal way?
    I’ve a challenge that I’m simply now working on, and I’ve been at
    the glance out for such info.

  3. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, you may
    be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark
    your blog and definitely will come back later in life.
    I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great
    work, have a nice day!

  4. Oamenii sunt încântați pentru a răspândi cuvântul despre dansatorii
    minunate și băuturi fabuloase . Virginia Muzeul de Arte -Arts are
    un inel democratic să-l , dar practicile și politicile sale sunt pur autocratic
    .

  5. You can definitely see your enthusiasm within the article you write.
    The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they
    believe. At all times go after your heart.

  6. Hi there, You have done an excellent job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends.
    I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

  7. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as
    I provide credit and sources back to your webpage?
    My blog is in the very same area of interest as yours and my
    visitors would certainly benefit from some of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this alright with you. Thanks a lot!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s