Australian composer/pianist Mark Isaacs makes music for listeners to "feel", whether big, sweeping emotions, or subtle ephemeral light touches. With the eight self-penned tracks on Closer, Isaacs - with terrific accompaniment by fellow Aussie Jason Cooney on tenor sax and James Muller on guitar -- establishes an intuitive ambiance of beguiling beauty and colour. It's a CD that demands the listener get Closer.
The versatile Isaacs is among Australia's leading composers/musicians and has an equally respected reputation in jazz and classical circles. Warm, melodic and ever compelling, his music commands a distinctly jazz discipline and feel. Closer is a very smooth record, but it is definitely not 'Smooth Jazz'. It is accessible in sound and appeal but each track still sparkles in the way it builds in texture and harmonic development, and improves with repeated listens.
Born in 1958, Isaacs works simultaneously and with equal commitment in classical as well as the jazz/improvisation areas. He holds a Master in music composition from the renowned Eastman School of Music. In 1996 he was awarded a coveted two-year Music Fellowship by the Australia Council.
As a concert composer, he has been commissioned by Australia's leading ensembles including the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australia Ensemble, Synergy, Seymour Group, Perehilion, Sydney String Quartet, Sydney Metropolitan Opera Company and celebrated soloists Dene Olding and Lisa Moore.
In 1994, Isaacs played the premiere of his own piano concerto in St. Petersburg with the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, and - such is his versatility - within hours he performed in a major jazz festival in the same city. Isaacs was a prize winner in the first Tokyo International Competition for Chamber Music Composition (1996) and received a commendation in the University of Melbourne's 1997 Albert H. Maggs Composition Prize.
As a jazz pianist he has released many recordings including Encounters with Dave Holland and Roy Haynes. He has also toured with Kenny Wheeler. In addition, he has composed extensively for television including scores for numerous internationally distributed animated telemovies. Mark Isaacs is a member of the NSW Arts Advisory Council's Music Committee.
With his latest CD, released on Naxos Jazz, Mark Isaacs gives us a record that is undeniably intimate and close to his heart. So get Closer!