Mark comes to contemporary composition from the jazz world, where he has a current and long-standing career as a virtuoso electric guitarist and jazz composer.
“When you improvise in jazz, every note you play has to relate to the chord you’re playing against, every note has a specific colour. Its the same with any music of course, but there is a particular approach you take when improvising: your ear and your instrument’s voice become one. This jazz based approach is very much involved in the way I compose.”
Mark’s music sounds new, exciting, sometimes challenging for performers, yet it remains extremely accessible for audiences. He has succeeded in creating a rich personal language, fusing jazz, world folk and classical influences, which is always compelling and unequivocally affirming a new tonalism.
“My aim is to let the music leave the confines of tonality without sounding like it has left. Each note needs to relate to the other notes around it vertically, horizontally and rhythmically in a way that my ear can make sense of. If I can’t hear it, if I can’t hum it, then I can’t use it.”
“There are areas outside the rules of tonality that still sound tonal. In the right context, within certain structures, tonality extends outside its usual bounds. Its not the same as playing "outside" as some jazz players do. What I'm interested in are things which sound like they are part of or come from the tonal world, but extend things beyond pure tonality. This is also an area some jazz musicians explore; Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek and late 60’s Miles Davis come to mind.”
Mark’s compositions are full of atmosphere and can take the form of a journey through a constantly changing imaginary landscape. His pieces are also often marked by strong rhythmic components, which draw on his extensive experience in jazz and give many of his compositions a compelling momentum.
His work invariably has an emotive quality and can be clearly melodic, but at the same time it is uncompromising in its inventiveness.
Often taking influences from jazz, African tribal, Indian folk as well as western classical, one of the distinctive things about Mark’s music, is that these seemingly diverse musical influences are integrated at such a root level, that they meet and form a unique and strikingly original musical voice.