Feature: Mark Lockheart tells the story of "Through Rose Coloured Glasses"

Saxophonist composer Mark Lockheart – most recent Album “Days Like These” with the NDR Big Band (above) – tells us the story behind the recording of a significant album in his development – ‘Through Rose-Coloured Glasses’ from 1998.

All of Mark’s albums have just become available for download at the Amazon and iTunes stores (links below). He writes:

 ‘Through Rose-Coloured Glasses’ was my first CD completely under my own name. So it’s special, in the sense that it launched me as a writer as well as a player. Its also the only album that I did on my own Subtone record label.

 I’d done lots of writing on Perfect Houseplants albums and written a duo album with John Parricelli, but this album with its 12 piece line-up which I called The Scratch Band) was quite an ambitious project at the time and still contains some of my favourite studio moments.

 We recorded at Livingston studios in Wood Green on April 8th and 9th 1998. I was able to partly fund it with the Peter Whittingham Award which I had won in 1997.

 The first day was a bit of a disaster, as there were various technical problems in the studio so we hardly recorded anything. We were also recording on secondhand 2 inch tape , recording over another record (I won’t tell you whose record! ) and there were various problems with bleed and distortion. Luckily I had Gerry O’ Riordon engineering the session who is probably the most unflappable sound engineer in the world . I’d worked a lot with Gerry on various Houseplants recordings and trusted him completely with a large line-up . By the end of day one we had recorded just two of the nine tracks, ‘Prologue’ and ‘A Place In The Sun’.
 Day Two of recording started brilliantly with everyone arriving in plenty of time and we soon got recording. Around midday, after we had two other tracks in the can Sid Gauld who was playing lead trumpet got a call from his wife saying she had gone into labour.

 The session was stopped for an early lunch while I thought what to do. Someone mentioned that Henry Lowther lived close by, so I phoned Henry who said he’d be down as soon as he’d finished his lunch. True to his word Henry showed up 40 minutes later, and played beautifully, sight-reading everything.

 Somehow we managed to record everything else that day, not just recording the songs but getting some wonderful energy and takes . Highlights for me are ‘Way Of The Road’ which is an amazingly controlled long slow piece that the rhythm section of Huw Warren, John Parricelli, Dudley Phillips and Martin France played so beautifully, its still one of the things I’m most proud of. And for sheer exuberant energy, ‘For Kicks’ makes me smile that we could play with such conviction at the end of the day, it was the very last track we did before we all went home!

A couple of years later I must of forgotten all the stress etc and recorded another album with the Scratch Band entitled ‘Imaginary Dances’


‘Through Rose-Coloured Glasses’ and’ Imaginary Dances’ and are available now as downloads from Amazon and iTunes.  Mark Lockheart on Amazon / Mark Lockheart on iTunes

Thu, 15th Sept       MARK LOCKHEART’S ‘IN DEEP’ , VORTEX,


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