MALIJA was formed in 2014 as a result of an invite play at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival in New York. All highly respected and innovative bandleaders in their own right, this all-star trio brings together three of the most exciting and original jazz musicians/composers in the UK. Featuring original material by all three members, the trio’s diverse influences include bluegrass, tango and old-fashion jungle grooves. It’s hard to describe this music but perhaps Jasper put it brilliantly when he described the trio’s music as “weird, simple, complicated, free, tight, floaty, ugly, beautiful and heartfelt depending on your mood”.
Their first collaboration was back in 2009, when the three musicians recorded and toured with Mark Lockheart’s acclaimed album ‘In Deep’, a record that brought these three musicians together as part of a quintet. Since then, each of them has developed a huge mutual respect and friendship, that to form a trio seemed the most logical and natural next step.
MALIJA has just recorded its debut album ‘The Day I Had Everything’ and the eleven varied tracks will be released on Edition label.
Mark Lockheart (saxophones/bass clarinet) – first came to prominence in the mid 1980s with the influential big band Loose Tubes. In 1992 Mark formed the eclectic co-led quartet Perfect Houseplants, a group that released six albums and collaborated with classical artists such as the Orlando Consort, Andrew Manze and Pamela Thorby.
Mark has toured and recorded with many artists from the jazz, folk and pop world including: Django Bates, Kenny Wheeler, June Tabor, Stereolab, Mark Anthony Turnage, Orlando Consort, John Pattitucci, Peter Erskine, Robert Wyatt, Don Um Romao, Jah Wobble, Thomas Dolby and Radiohead.
In 2003 Mark joined Seb Rochford’s Polar Bear, which has recorded six ground-breaking albums. The band’s second CD, ‘Held On The Tips Of Fingers,’ was nominated for the 2005 Mercury Award and later appeared in Jazzwise’s ‘100 Albums That Shook the World.’ The band’s fifth album ‘In Each And Every Way’ was also nominated for a Mercury award in 2013.
In 2009 Mark released his influential ‘In Deep’ album (Edition Records). The Manchester Evening News gave it five stars and said it was “the key record of the second golden age of British jazz.” In 2010 Mark was awarded APPJC Parliamentary Jazz Musician of the Year and released his first big band album ‘Days Like These’ with the Hamburg- based NDR big band.
In 2013 Mark’s ‘Ellington In Anticipation’ was released to critical acclaim with BBC Music Magazine describing it as “Ellington for the 21st Century” and MOJO listing it as the best jazz album of 2013.
“Lockheart is a consummate saxophonist and an original composer.”
– The Rough Guide to Jazz
Liam Noble (piano) has worked towards developing a personal style formed from his experience of playing everything from standards, new composition, free improvisation and, most recently, electronics. His CD releases include “Close Your Eyes” (1994), “In The Meantime” (2001), “Romance Among The Fishes” (2004) and “Brubeck” (2007). In addition to his own projects, he has regular associations with saxophonists Julian Siegel and Bobby Wellins, singer Christine Tobin and the improvising trio “Sleepthief” with Tom Rainey and Ingrid Laubrock. He has performed with many musicians from the UK and US including trumpeter Peter Evans, rhythm team Larry Grenadier and Eric Harland, and improvising viola master Mat Maneri.
His new quintet, in which his trio with Dave Whitford and Dave Wickins is augmented by the twin horns of Chris Batchelor and Shabaka Hutchings, features new material that veers in and out of hard bop, bluegrass and tuneful ballads via a deliberately loose approach to improvisation within carefully honed structures.
Noble is such a terrific pianist that he can do completely unpianistic things, like imitating the rhythms and sound effects that are more appropriate to a banjo, and still keep you absolutely enthralled.
Copenhagen-born, London-based bassist Jasper Høiby created the trio Phronesis in 2005, which has since gone on to win awards for ‘Jazz Album of the Year’ in Jazzwise and MOJO Magazines 2010 (Alive, Edition 2010) as well as a London Jazz Award for their Pitch Black performance at Brecon Jazz Festival, 2012.
Since moving to London in 2000, Jasper has been an active part of the UK jazz scene and appeared in collaborations with numerous artists. Since finishing his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in 2004 Høiby has performed and recorded with a number of original artists, including, Django Bates, Shai Maestro, Julian Joseph, Kurt Elling, Tom Arthurs, Mark Lockheart, Julia Biel, Marius Neset, Kairos 4tet, Jim Hart, Ivo Neame. Since relocating to Copenhagen Høiby maintains a busy touring schedule both as a bandleader and sideman.
“Høiby fashions his pieces so the lines between freedom and form are beautifully blurred, the music flows as a tumultuous organic whole – everything belongs, nothing is forced.”
– MOJO Magazine