Mark Isaacs, Dave Holland, Roy Haynes Encounters 

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When Encounters was first released in Australia by ABC in 1990, it was described as “a landmark in the internationalisation of Australian jazz”. In a Manhattan recording session in 1988 the then 30-year old Australian Mark Isaacs joined as record producer and pianist with two of the legends of international jazz: the British-born, ex-Miles Davis bassist Dave Holland, for many decades an acclaimed leader in his own right, as well as drummer Roy Haynes, currently 88 years of age, still playing up a storm and immortalised as a first-guard bebop pioneer who had played with Charlie Parker and Bud Powell.

This reissue is sparked by strong current demand for the recording from Japan. Encounters had been released twice in Australia by ABC and also in Europe by the German label veraBra, but has been out of print for nearly 20 years. This new release is sure to spark renewed interest in this remarkable album. New York writer James Gavin, who has produced acclaimed biographies of Chet Baker and Lena Horne as well as writing for the New York Times, Vanity Fair etc. says in his liner notes to the current edition:

Encounters was conceived in Manhattan, where Mark had gone to hear his chamber piece “So It Does” performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall by the Australia Ensemble. The New York Times called the work “energetic” and “winning”; Mark felt so exhilarated, he had to follow it up with something else before he left New York.... Was he nervous? Not really, he says. “At thirty, I thought the world was my oyster. I would have been intimidated if I’d tried to play fast bebop with them. But in this milieu, I had confidence in myself as a composer, particularly, and I thought that I could meet them on this journey.”

Mark requested a rehearsal, but Haynes advised that it would defeat the purpose. Mark got the point. When the musicians met at New York’s Power Station studio, there wasn’t a shared note until the tape ran. Mark began each take by striking a chord; when the moment seemed right he signaled an end. Later he would pick the best tracks..... Less than four hours after they’d begun, he had an album. Mark looks back on it as “free music that still aspires to a song form and a kind of melodicism.” Twenty-five years later, the results are still exciting.