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FONT Music or Festival: Mark Isham
(Le) Poisson Rouge
New York, NY
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FONT Music or Festival: Mark Isham


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FONT Music
The Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT Music) was created to support new trumpet music in all its forms, and to provide a platform for emerging artists and creative pioneers. Its primary goal is to celebrate the excellence of the current music scene by hosting an astoundingly broad array of new trumpet music performances. By presenting over two weeks of concerts, commissioning new works, creating new projects, hosting panels, and collaborating with other New York presenters and international artists, FONT exposes the exciting range of current activity and brings together disparate communities of musicians, students, and audiences. FONT Music, a non-profit organization, also gives back to the community by benefiting music programs in the New York City Public Schools.

Mark Isham is an American trumpeter, synthesist, and composer. He works in a variety of genres, including jazz, electronic, and film.  Isham studied classical music at an early age and played trumpet, piano and violin. The Isham family later moved to San Francisco, where Mark found work in several of the local orchestras. He also became actively involved in the Bay Area rock and roll scene of the 1960s, performing live with several of the local groups.
He was a member of a Marin County band called Beefy Red from 1970-72, performing both on trumpet and soprano saxophone. (The group also included guitarist Barry Finnerty, who later played and recorded with Miles Davis, the Crusaders, and the Brecker Brothers, among others.) After performing in music venues ranging from Marin's 'Lion's Share' to San Francisco's Fillmore West, Beefy Red disbanded in January, 1972.
In 1974 Isham joined former Beefy Red horn player Phil Woods and drummer James Preston in The Sons of Champlin. The Sons of Champlin, like Beefy Red, were unusual in the San Francisco psychedelic scene in featuring a large brass section. Isham wrote and performed his recording debut on the instrumental song 'Marp' (a takeoff on the name of the then-new 'Arp' synthesizer) on the Sons' self-titled album, released in 1975.
During the 1970s, he learned to program synthesizers and became active in the progressive jazz movement. In 1976 Isham and pianist Art Lande formed a quartet called Rubisa Patrol. They released two albums: Rubisa Patrol (1976) and Desert Marauders (1978). It was in this group that Isham surfaced as a solo trumpeter with a strong Miles Davis influence.
In 1977, Isham performed on the Taj Mahal album Evolution (The Most Recent). This was the beginning of Isham's career as a sessions artist, which continues to present day. He has worked with artists as diverse as Van Morrison, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Ziggy Marley, David Sylvian, Hector Zazou, David Torn, Toots Thielemans and Tanita Tikaram.
In 1978, he formed a group called Group 87. Group 87 featured bassist Patrick O'Hearn, drummers Terry Bozzio and Peter Van Hooke (at different times) and guitarist Peter Maunu. All of these artists would work with Isham in future solo projects. They released two albums: Group 87 (1980) and A Career in Dada Processing (1984).
From 1979 through 1983, he worked with Van Morrison's band playing synthesizer and trumpet on four of his abums: Into the Music, Common One, Beautiful Vision and Inarticulate Speech of the Heart.
In 1983, he released his first solo album, Vapor Drawings. Its style is an atmospheric and deeply experimental blend of modern jazz and electronic music. It was also the first album released on the Windham Hill label to feature extensive use of synthesizers.
That same year he also scored the soundtrack for the Carroll Ballard film Never Cry Wolf. This brought immediate attention and subsequent film score jobs. His second solo album was a compilation of these works titled Film Music (1985).
Additionally, in 1983, Isham was invited to play with RMS and Gil Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival. He flew in to Montreux and played the same night whilst extremely jet-lagged. The resulting concert was eventually released on DVD in 2004 on the Angel Air Record Label.
From 1987 to 1992 he composed scores for the "Rabbit Ears Storybook Classics" series of videos and CDs. These were narrated by famous actors such as William Hurt and Glenn Close.
His albums Castalia (1988) and Tibet (1989) were both Grammy-nominated. He won in 1990 with his album Mark Isham.
In 1992, he published his first orchestral work Five Stories for Trumpet and Orchestra. The same year he earned an Academy Award nomination for the soundtrack of the film A River Runs Through It. During the following years he became a prolific film score composer. Some of his film scores include: Save the Last Dance, Men of Honor and October Sky.
In 1995, he released an album titled Blue Sun. This was his first album to follow a mainstream contemporary jazz format.
In 1999, he formed a group to interpret the music of Miles Davis's late 1960s through mid-1970s electric jazz fusion and released an album, Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project, which was recorded live.
Isham is a practitioner of Scientology. He lives in the Hidden Hills gated community in the County of Los Angeles.
In 2007, his music, "A Sense of Touch" from the soundtrack of Crash is featured in the Law & Order SVU Season finale "Screwed"


(Le) Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 11205
United States



Minimum Age: 18
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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