Feature/Interview

In lockdown with… trumpeter Mark Isham

New York-born, California-based trumpeter and film composer Mark Isham has done the scores for over 400 movies and TV shows. He is involved, alongside Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and the UK’s Jive Aces, in the new video Spread a Smile / #staywell which has had over 10m views on YouTube.

Here are his thoughts on lockdown:

MARK ISHAM

Mark Isham. Publicity photo

First album you purchased as a “jazz musician”?

Cannonball Adderley’s 74 Miles Away. I heard it on the radio and it changed my life; I had to hear it again – and again and again! It was such a fascinating combination of cool, sophistication and swinging so hard.

What are you listening to right now?

Actually I’ve been “cleaning house” a bit and going through old vinyl. Last night I listened to My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Eno and Byrne and Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall.

Have you done or watched any livestream gigs since lockdown?

I just did a wonderful, huge performance called “Spread a Smile” with all sorts of fabulous performers from around the world including Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and the UK’s Jive Aces. I think it’s such a great idea – we need things that are uplifting and bring joy and positivity in these strange times!

I also did a performance with Chick and Kate Ceberano which was a blast! Chick’s arrangement of Skylark is wonderful. Kate’s weekly Living Room concerts are really great and worth a watch. I’ve also been loving the “Blues Challenge” that Marcus Printup has been doing on Facebook. 

Most memorable event in your career or education?

I think when I got to stand next to and play with Wayne Shorter – a lifelong dream come true!

Instrument you wish you played?

Obviously I’ve devoted a huge part of my life to the trumpet, but for two years I played sax – tenor and soprano. John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter had become such major influences that I really “wanted to be them”. 

Has this time in isolation inspired any new creative ideas?

I’ve completely rewired my whole studio. My entire collection of vintage synths and keyboards are now wired directly into my system so I can record any of them at any time!! Which has inspired me to start a new album…

What are you most looking forward to once this is over?

Concerts!!

A chance to plug a friend’s music right now…

Emily Bear – she’s on FIRE!!! (WEBSITE)

 

LINK: Mark Isham Music website

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