Mark Lockheart is one of the most distinctive and creative musicians on the current British music scene. As a saxophonist and composer, his work often defies categorisation and crosses the boundaries of the jazz, new music and folk worlds. "Lockheart is a consummate saxophonist and a original and versatile composer" The Rough Guide to Jazz.
Mark came to prominence in the mid 1980s with the influential and radical big band Loose Tubes and after the demise of the band in 1990 formed the co-led quartet Perfect Houseplants.
Perfect Houseplants went on to release six much respected albums including several cross-over collaborations with the Orlando Consort (Extempore, 1998 and 2002), baroque violinist Andrew Manze, and with recorder virtuoso Pamela Thorby (New Folk Songs, Linn, 2002). In 1998 the band represented the BBC at the EBU in Vienna where the concert was recorded and broadcast to eleven European countries within the EU. This period also saw Mark collaborating with Irish pianist and composer Micheal O'Suilleabhain, and recording a world/jazz album entitledMatheran (Isis, 1993) with guitarist John Parricelli.
In the mid-nineties Mark toured and recorded with Django Bates' Delightful Precipice, performing at many international festivals including Berlin, Molde and Willisau, and recording with jazz, folk and pop artists June Tabor, Billy Jenkins, Stereolab, Jah Wobble, Robert Wyatt, Prefab Sprout, Don Um Romao ,Thomas Dolby, Anja Garbarek and Radiohead.
In 1997 Mark was awarded the Peter Whittingham Award to record his semi-orchestral eleven-piece group the Scratch Band. This formed the basis of Through Rose-Coloured Glasses, which was released in 1998 to critical acclaim and voted by Time Out as one of the Top Ten albums of 1998.
A commission from the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and Birmingham Jazz led to a suite of pieces inspired by dance forms, which formed the basis for the Scratch Band's second album, Imaginary Dances (Staytuned Records, 2002). In 2001 with the help of The Arts Council of England Touring Grant the Scratch Band undertook a ten date nationwide tour.
In 2003 Mark joined Seb Rochfords Polar Bear and has toured throughout Europe and recorded four ground breaking albums with the group, the last CD Held On The Tips Of Fingers was nominated for the 2005 Mercury Award and later appeared in Jazzwise's '100 Albums That Shook the World'.
In 2005 Mark released Moving Air (basho records), featuring John Parricelli, Martin France and Mark's muti-tracked reeds, a major Arts Council funded tour followed in Oct/Nov to promote the album.
In 2007 Mark was featured soloist ( along with John Pattitucci and Gwilym Simcock) in Mark Anthony Turnage's About Water which was premiered on the Southbank in June 2007. Mark has collaborated several times with Turnage performing his 'A Man Descending' with the Southbank Sinfonia in 2008. Mark again joined Turnage for his opera Anna Nicole which was premiered in Febuary 2011 at the Royal Opera House in London.
2009 was a hugely busy year with the release of In Deep on the Edition record label. The Manchester evening news gave it five stars and said it was 'the key record of the second golden age of British jazz'. 2012 was a no less productive and saw Mark being awarded APPJC, Parliamentary Jazz Musician Of The Year 2010 and the release of his first big band album Days Like These with the Hamburg-based NDR big band.
In 2013 Mark released "Ellington In Anticipation" a radical reworking of Ellington tunes with an all-star line-up including Seb Rochford, Liam Noble, Finn Peters and James Allsop. The CD had many 4- and 5-star reviews and was MOJO magazines Jazz Album of 2013.
Mark has composed music for BBC Drama including two Radio 4 plays, Slow Burn and False Fingerings and has also contributed to the Associated Board Jazz Syllabus. Mark also finds time to teach at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Royal Academy of Music.