Instrumentalist of the Year
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.
2013 saw the release of ‘Ellington In Anticipation', Lockheart’s radical reworking of Ellington’s melodies with an all-star line-up, including the likes of Seb Rochford, James Allsop and Tom Herbert. The album was MOJO magazine’s ‘Jazz Album of 2013’ and was also nominated as ‘Best Jazz CD of 2013’ by the APPJC at the 2014 Parliamentary Awards.
Lockheart’s latest release, “The Day I had Everything”, comes as a collaboration between himself, Liam Noble and Jasper Høiby under the name ‘Malija’. Lockheart describes the album as “a reference to the sheer excitement one has as a child getting up in the morning and not being able to decide what to do first.” The album has an eclectic feel, bringing together several styles and influences that Lockheart attributes to his many years working and gigging among a wide variety of musicians in 80’s and 90’s London including African and reggae bands.
Theon Cross: South East London native and up and coming tubist, composer and bandleader, Theon Cross joins the ranks of several acts to be nominated from the Alumni of Southbank based music education organisation ‘Tomorrow’s Warriors’. The organisation’s graduates are some of the most exciting, impressive and talented performers to be featured in the nominations of this year’s Jazz FM awards.
A brilliant tuba player and composer, Cross’ first EP entitled ‘Aspirations’ is a gorgeous blend of groovy and upbeat melodies resting upon the backdrop of solid and inventive drums provided by Moses Boyd and seamless tenor saxophone and bass clarinet from Nubya Garcia. Theon Cross already has a distinct sound and is certainly one to watch with his first EP signifying a fantastic start.
Zoe Rahman: Described in The Observer as “a remarkable pianist by any standard”, Zoe Rahman has firmly established herself as one of the brightest stars on the contemporary jazz scene. A vibrant and highly individual pianist/composer, her style is deeply rooted in jazz yet it reflects her classical background British, Bengali and Irish heritageand her very broad musical taste. Zoe’s new solo piano album, “Dreamland”, is due for release in June 2016. The album showcases the depth and breadth of her musical imagination, featuring some of her new compositions alongside tracks by Duke Ellington, Jessica Williams, Rabindranath Tagore, as well as solo renditions of some of Zoe’s back catalogue.
Zoe won a MOBO Award for ‘Best Jazz Act of 2012’ in recognition for her fifth album “Kindred Spirits” released on her own ‘Manushi’ label. The album showcases Zoe’s exuberant and highly personal style. Featuring her brother Idris on clarinet alongside her trio as well as a guest appearance by UK jazz legend Courtney Pine, the album was hailed as “one of the best albums of the last couple of years” with its seamless integration of classical influences with jazz.