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Isham, Mark 1951–

Isham, Mark 1951-

PERSONAL

Born September 7, 1951, in New York, NY; son of Howard Fuller (a professor of humanities) and Patricia (a violinist; maiden name, Hammond) Isham; married Margaret Johnstone (a music publicist), May 24, 1986 (marriage ended); married Donna Linson, February 24, 1990. Education: Attended University of California, Santa Barbara; studied classical trumpet with John Cappola, Joyce Johnson, and Joe Alessi. Religion: Church of Scientology.

Addresses:

Manager—First Artists Management, 16000 Ventura Blvd., Suite 605, Encino, CA 91436.

Career:

Musician, composer, recording artist, music producer and arranger, and orchestrator; also synthesizer programmer. Sons of Champlin (band), recording artist and concert performer, prior to 1974; Rubisa Patrol, member of band, beginning 1976; Group 87, founding member of band, 1979; Mark Isham Jazz Band, founding member, c. 1990. Performed as a young man with Oakland Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and San Francisco Opera Orchestra; guest artist or soloist in concert with other recording artists, including Joni Mitchell, Lyle Lovett, Ziggy Marley, and Marianne Faithful; performer with Arte Lande on tour of European and U.S. cities.

Member:

American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.

Awards, Honors:

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, best music, 1988, for The Moderns; Grammy Award nominations, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1988, for The Emperor's Nightingale, best New Age performance, 1988, for Castalia, best New Age performance, 1989, for Tibet, and 1990, for The Emperor's New Clothes; Grammy Award, best New Age performance, 1990, for Mark Isham; Academy Award nomination, best original score, 1993, and Grammy Award nomination, best instrumental composition written for a motion picture or for television, 1994, both for A River Runs Through It; Saturn Award nomination, best music, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films, 1994, for Fire in the Sky; Golden Globe Award nomination, best original score for a motion picture, 1995, for Nell; Emmy Award nominations, outstanding individual achievement in main title theme music, 1995 and 1996, both for Chicago Hope; Emmy Award, outstanding individual achievement in main title theme music, 1997, for EZ Streets; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding main title theme music, 1998, for Nothing Sacred; award for best jazz album, Times (London), 1999, for Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project; Film and Television Music Awards, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, top box office films, 1999, for Blade, and top television series, 2000, for Family Law; Grammy Award nomination, best score soundtrack album for a motion picture, television, or other visual media, 2002, for Men of Honor; Henry Mancini Award, Film and Television Music Awards, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, 2006; cited in "top 100 jazz albums of the decade," Downbeat, for Blue Sun.

CREDITS

Film Work:

Horn player, The Secret Policeman's Other Ball, Almi Cinema 5, 1981.

Musician, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, Castle Hill, 1982.

Musician, Never Cry Wolf, Buena Vista, 1983.

Musician, The Times of Harvey Milk, New Yorker, 1984.

Musician, Trouble in Mind, Island Alive, 1985.

Musician, Made in Heaven, Lorimar, 1987.

Song producer and musician, The Moderns, Alive Films, 1988.

Song performer, title song, Cat Chaser, 1989.

Song performer, Everybody Wins, Orion, 1990.

Band leader for Blue Danube and musician with Rain-city Industrial art Ensemble, Love at Large, Image Entertainment, 1990.

Producer of original score, Point Break, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1991.

Trumpeter, Little Man Tate, Orion, 1991.

Music arranger, Billy Bathgate, Buena Vista, 1991.

Musician, Short Cuts, Fine Line, 1993.

Trumpet soloist, Quiz Show, Buena Vista, 1994.

Trumpet soloist, Losing Isaiah, Paramount, 1995.

Musician, Home for the Holidays, Paramount, 1995.

Music conductor and musician, Miami Rhapsody, Buena Vista, 1995.

Music arranger, Night Falls on Manhattan, Paramount, 1997.

Musician, Afterglow, Sony Pictures Classics, 1997.

Musician, Hurlyburly, Fine Line, 1998.

Music producer, Breakfast of Champions, Buena Vista, 1999.

Score producer and trumpet soloist, Body Shots, New Line Cinema, 1999.

Trumpet soloist, Rules of Engagement (also known as Les regles d'engagement, Rules of Engagement—Die Regeln des krieges, and Rules—Sekunden der entscheidung), Paramount, 2000.

Music producer and musician, Where the Money Is (also known as Ein Heisser coup and Where the Money Is—Ein Heisser coup), Gramercy/USA Films, 2000.

Orchestrator, Trixie, Sony Pictures Classics, 2000.

Score producer, Imposter, Dimension Films, 2000.

Music producer and musician, The Princess Diaries, Buena Vista, 2001.

Trumpet soloist, The Cooler, Lions Gate Films, 2003.

Music arranger, music producer, and musician, Crash (also known as L.A. Crash), Lions Gate Films, 2004.

Music producer, Twisted, Paramount, 2004.

Music producer, Racing Stripes, Warner Bros., 2005.

Music producer, Bobby, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2006.

Trumpet soloist, The Black Dahlia, Universal, 2006.

Musician, Running Scared, New Line Cinema, 2006.

Musician, "Foot Chase," Hot Fuzz, Rogue Pictures, 2007.

Film Director:

The Cowboy and the Ballerina, 1998.

Film Appearances:

Zeus, Made in Heaven, Lorimar, 1987.

Television Work; Series:

Theme music performer, High Incident, between 1995 and 1997.

Music supervisor, EZ Streets, CBS, 1996.

Television Work; Movies:

Musician, In Search of Angels, PBS, 1994.

Music producer, Shattered Mind (also known as The Terror Inside), NBC, 1996.

Musician, Winter Solstice on Ice, Arts and Entertainment, 1999.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Der Klang der bilder, 1995.

Searching for Jimi Hendrix, Bravo, 1999.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Perfomed with Lyle Lovett and Randy Newman on Soundstage, PBS.

RECORDINGS

Albums:

(With Art Lande) Rubisa Patrol, ECM, 1976.

(With Lande) Desert Marauders, ECM, 1978.

(With Van Morrison) Into the Music, Warner Bros., 1979.

(With Morrison) Common One, Warner Bros., 1980.

(With Morrison) Beautiful Vision, Warner Bros., 1980.

(With Group 87) Group 87, Columbia, 1980.

(With Morrison) Live at the Belfast Opera House, Mercury, 1983.

(With Morrison) Inarticulate Speech of the Heart, Warner Bros., 1983.

Vapor Drawings, Windham Hill, 1983.

(With Group 87) A Career in Dada Processing, Capitol, 1984.

(With Group 87) We Begin, ECM, 1987.

The Steadfast Tin Soldier, BMG Kidz, 1987.

The Emperor's Nightingale, BMG Kidz, 1988.

Castalia, Virgin, 1988.

Tibet, Windham Hill, 1989.

Thumbelina, BMG Kidz, 1989.

The Emperor's New Clothes, BMG Kidz, 1990.

Mark Isham, Gold Rush, 1990.

Songs My Children Taught Me, Windham Hill, 1991.

The Boy Who Drew Cats, BMG Kidz, 1992.

Blue Sun, Columbia, 1995.

Mark Isham: A Windham Hill Retrospective, Windham Hill, 1998.

Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project, Columbia, 1999.

Pure Mark Isham, Windham Hill, 2006.

Also recorded (with Lande) Story of Baku and Eccentricities of Earl Dant, both Arch Street; (with Charles Jankel) Charles Jankel, A & M; (with Tom Fogerty) Deal It Out, Fantasy; (with America) View from the Ground, Capitol; (with Steve Miller) Singing Whale Songs in a Low Voice, Hip Pocket/Windham Hill, Sampler 84, Windham Hill, and Country, Windham Hill; (with Liz Story) Unaccountable Effect, Windham Hill; (with Will Ackerman) Past Light, Film Music, and Vapor Drawings, all Windham Hill; and The Firebird. Guest artist or studio musician on numerous albums, including Voodoo Lounge, by the Rolling Stones; Human Touch, by Bruce Springsteen; Across the Borderline, by Willie Nelson; and Toots, Film Music, by Toots Thielmans.

Videos:

The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Random House, 1987.

Joni Mitchell: Painting with Words and Music, 1998.

The Hitcher—How Do These Movies Get Made?, Kinowelt Home Entertainment, 2003.

"Moonlight Mile": A Journey to Screen, Buena Vista Home Video, 2003.

The Sound of "Miracle," Buena Vista Home Video, 2004.

The Making of "Miracle," Buena Vista Home Video, 2004.

WRITINGS

Film Music:

Never Cry Wolf, Buena Vista, 1983.

Mrs. Soffel, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1984.

The Times of Harvey Milk, New Yorker, 1984.

Additional music, Country, Buena Vista, 1984.

Trouble in Mind, Island Alive, 1985.

The Hitcher, American Film, 1986.

Portraits of Anorexia, 1986.

Made in Heaven, Lorimar, 1987.

Tibet (also known as Tibet—Widerstand des geistes), 1988.

The Moderns, Alive Films, 1988.

The Beast (also known as The Beast of War), Columbia, 1988.

Title song, Cat Chaser, 1989.

Everybody Wins, Orion, 1990.

Reversal of Fortune, Warner Bros., 1990.

Love at Large, Image Entertainment, 1990.

Mortal Thoughts, Columbia, 1991.

Point Break, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1991.

Little Man Tate, Orion, 1991.

A Midnight Clear, A & M, 1991.

Crooked Hearts, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1991.

Billy Bathgate, Buena Vista, 1991.

Cool World, Paramount, 1992.

A River Runs Through It, Sony Pictures Releasing, 1992.

The Public Eye, Universal, 1992.

Of Mice and Men, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1992.

Nowhere to Run, Sony Pictures Releasing, 1993.

Fire in the Sky, Paramount, 1993.

Made in America, 1993.

Romeo Is Bleeding, Gramercy, 1993.

Short Cuts, Fine Line, 1993.

Hidden Hawaii (also known as Hawaii: Born in Paradise), 1993.

The Getaway, Universal, 1994.

The Browning Version, Paramount, 1994.

Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (also known as Mrs. Parker and the Round Table), Fine Line, 1994.

Timecop, Universal, 1994.

Nell, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1994.

Thumbelina (also known as Hans Christian Andersen's "Thumbelina"), Columbia TriStar, 1994.

Safe Passage, New Line Cinema, 1994.

Quiz Show, Buena Vista, 1994.

Miami Rhapsody, Buena Vista, 1995.

Losing Isaiah, Paramount, 1995.

The Net, Sony Pictures Releasing, 1995.

Home for the Holidays, Paramount, 1995.

Fly Away Home (also known as Father Goose and Flying Wild), Columbia TriStar, 1996.

Last Dance, Buena Vista, 1996.

Night Falls on Manhattan, Paramount, 1997.

Afterglow, Sony Pictures Classics, 1997.

Kiss the Girls, Paramount, 1997.

The Education of Little Tree (also known as L'education de Little Tree), Paramount, 1997.

The Gingerbread Man, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, 1998.

Blade, New Line Cinema, 1998.

Free Money, 1998.

The Blood Tide, 1998.

(And song, "Love Is Where You Are") At First Sight, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1999.

Varsity Blues, Paramount, 1999.

Breakfast of Champions, Buena Vista, 1999.

October Sky, Universal, 1999.

Body Shots, New Line Cinema, 1999.

Galapagos: The Enchanted Voyage (documentary), IMAX, 1999.

(And song, "On the Threshold of Liberty") Rules of Engagement (also known as Les regles d'engagement, Rules of Engagement—Die Regeln des krieges, and Rules—Sekunden der entscheidung), Paramount, 2000.

Where the Money Is (also known as Ein Heisser coup and Where the Money Is—Ein Heisser coup), Gramercy/USA Films, 2000.

Trixie, Sony Pictures Classics, 2000.

Men of Honor (also known as Men of Honour), Twentieth Century-Fox, 2000.

Impostor, Dimension Films, 2000.

Save the Last Dance, Paramount, 2001.

Life as a House, New Line Cinema, 2001.

Hard Ball, Paramount, 2001.

Don't Say a Word, twentieth Century-Fox, 2001.

The Majestic, Warner Bros., 2001.

Moonlight Mile, Buena Vista, 2002.

The Cooler, Lions Gate Films, 2003.

Highwaymen (also known as Pourchasse), New Line Cinema, 2004.

Spartan, Warner Bros., 2004.

Miracle, Buena Vista, 2004.

(And song "For Bill") Twisted, Paramount, 2004.

(And song "Redemption") Crash (also known as L.A. Crash), Lions Gate Films, 2004.

(And song "Taking the Inside Rail") Racing Stripes, Warner Bros., 2005.

Kicking & Screaming, Universal, 2005.

In Her Shoes, Twentieth Century-Fox, 2005.

Running Scared, New Line Cinema, 2006.

Eight Below (also known as 8 Below), Buena Vista, 2006.

The Black Dahlia, Universal, 2006.

Invincible, Walt Disney, 2006.

Bobby, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2006.

Freedom Writers, Paramount, 2007.

Gracie, Picturehouse Entertainment, 2007.

Next, Paramount, 2007.

Songs Featured in Films:

"My Pander Bear," What Women Want, Paramount, 2000.

The Princess Diaries, Buena Vista, 2001.

"Foot Chase," Hot Fuzz, Rogue Pictures, 2007.

Screenplays:

The Cowboy and the Ballerina, 1998.

Television Music; Series:

(Theme music) Chicago Hope, CBS, 1995-2000.

(Score and theme music) EZ Streets, CBS, 1996.

(Score and theme music) Michael Hayes, CBS, 1997.

(Score and theme music) Nothing Sacred, ABC, 1997.

(Score) Family Law, CBS, 1999.

The Black Donnellys, NBC, 2007.

Television Music; Specials:

Song, "On the Threshold of Liberty," The Making of Liberty, 1986.

The Emperor's Nightingale, Showtime, 1987.

The Emperor's New Clothes, Showtime, 1990.

The Boy Who Drew Cats, Showtime, 1991.

The Firebird, Showtime, 1994.

Song, "Love's Ash Dissolves," In Search of Angels, PBS, 1994.

Song, "Mr. Moto's Penguin," Winter Solstice on Ice, Arts and Entertainment, 1999.

The Making of "Life as a House," 2001.

Television Music; Movies:

The Sketch Artist, Showtime, 1992.

Gotti, HBO, 1996.

The Defenders: Payback, Showtime, 1997.

The Defenders: Choice of Evils (also known as The Defenders), Showtime, 1998.

The Defenders: Taking the First, 1998.

Free Money, Starz!, 1999.

Television Music; Other:

(Score and theme music) EZ Streets (pilot), CBS, 1996.

(Contributor) From the Earth to the Moon (miniseries), HBO, 1998.

The Black Donnellys (pilot), NBC, 2007.

Videos:

From the Ground Up, New Line Home Video, 2001.

Character Building: Inside "Life as a House," New Line Home Video, 2001.

The Hitcher—How Do These Movies Get Made?, Kinowelt Home Entertainment, 2003.

Running Scared: Through the Looking Glass, New Line Cinema, 2006.

Other:

Composer, "Five Short Stories for Trumpet and Orchestra," St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, 1992.

ADAPTATIONS

Isham's compositions and his work as music producer and musician for motion pictures have been recorded on numerous original soundtrack albums.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Contemporary Musicians, Volume 14, Gale, 1995.

Periodicals:

Downbeat, November, 1995, p. 30.

Los Angeles, October, 1995, p. 74.

Electronic:

Mark Isham Official Site,http://www.isham.com/, May 18, 2007.

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"Isham, Mark 1951–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Isham, Mark 1951–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/isham-mark-1951

"Isham, Mark 1951–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved April 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/isham-mark-1951

Isham, Mark

Mark Isham

Composer, instrumentalist

For the Record

More Forays Into Film Scoring

Formally Recognized at Last

A Tireless Worker and Genre Jumper

Selected discography

Sources

It is not surprising that versatile composer and recording artist Mark Isham, born into a family of musicians in New York City, chose to pursue a career in music. Both of his parents played violin professionally, and Isham began studying classical piano, violin, and trumpet as a child. By the age of 12, he performed his debut as a professional trumpet player with a small symphony orchestra.

When Isham started high school, he expanded his musical interests into jazz. While in his late teens, he and his family moved to the San Francisco Bay area, where Isham played trumpet with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, and a diverse range of contemporary jazz and rock bands. He performed with the Beach Boys, Esther Phillips, Charles Lloyd, Horace Silver, Pharoah Sanders, and Dave Liebman, then recorded and toured with the Sons of Champlin. Before long, Isham discovered yet another area of musicelectronics. It was about 74 or 75, the musician recalled in Billboard. I had joined the Sons of Champlin, and it was there that I found

For the Record

Born in New York, NY; son of professional violin players; married Margaret Johnstone.

Made debut as professional trumpet player at the age of 12; moved to San Francisco as a teenager and performed with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, and area bands; performed with artists Rubisa Patrol, 1976-78; Group 87, 1979-84; and Van Morrison, 1980-1983; signed with Windham Hill Records, recorded first solo LP, Vapor Drawings, and scored first film, Never Cry Wolf, 1983.

Awards: Grammy Award nomination for Castalia and Los Angeles Critics Award for best score for The Moderns, both 1988; Grammy Award nomination for Tibet; Grammy Award, 1991, for best New Age artist; Academy Award nomination for best film score, 1993, for A River Runs Through It.

Addresses: Management Vector Management, P.O. Box 128037, Nashville, TN 37212.

the impetus to go out and buy one of the first ARP Odysseys [music equipment].

In 1976 Isham joined pianist Art Lande to form an acoustic ensemble called Rubisa Patrol, and they released a self-titled album on ECM Records. Two years later, Rubisa Patrol recorded Desert Marauders on ECM. That became the first really exciting learning experience for me, Isham remarked in Down Beat about working with Rubisa Patrol. The whole way that band worked together was at a much higher level than anything else I had done before.

Isham performed with Van Morrison as a member of the musicians stage and studio bands on the 1979 album Into the Music. Along with guitarist Peter Maunu, synthe-sist Patrick OHearn, and drummer Terry Bozzio, Isham formed the fusion band Group 87 that same year. The band released their self-titled debut on Columbia Records in 1980, on which they explored strict composition and veered away from improvisation.

Van Morrison asked Isham to make return appearances on his subsequent releases Common One and Beautiful Vision in 1980 and 1982, respectively. But in 1983, Isham made the move from sideman to leader with debuts in two genres. He released his first solo LP on Windham Hill Records, Vapor Drawings, then received his first credit as a film composer for the music in Caroll Ballards film Never Cry Wolf.

More Forays Into Film Scoring

Isham next joined Van Morrison on two more albumsInarticulate Speech of the Heart and Live at the Belfast Opera House. This time, however, Isham collaborated with Morrison on some of the songwriting. Though Isham had garnered a fair amount of writing and performing credits, financial success had yet to hit. At the time, the musician lived in a leaky, two-bedroom basement apartment in Sausalito, California, working as hard as he could to make things happen.

Group 87 released their second album in 1984, A Career in Dada Processing, on Capitol Records. Isham also scored music for the films Mrs. Soffel and The Life and Times of Harvey Milk, which won an Academy Award for best documentary. He also created a new partnership with Japanese singer David Sylvian on the album Brilliant Trees.

By 1985 Isham had done enough film scoring that Windham Hill Records decided to release some of his compositions on the compilation Film Music. A year later, Island released his score for the movie Trouble in Mind on a soundtrack. Isham also provided music for The Hitcher.

After Isham had produced two solo albums for Art Lande, the two decided to renew their performing partnership on a duo recording called We Begin in 1987. Isham also composed the music for Made in Heaven, released as a soundtrack on Elektra Records. Then, adding more work to his already active year, he teamed up with David Sylvian once again for the album Secrets of the Beehive and collaborated with David Torn on Cloud About Mercury.

Formally Recognized at Last

Moving to a record company with bigger distribution, Isham came out with his next solo LP on Virgin Records, Castalia, which received a Grammy Award nomination in 1988. Success had finally arrived, but Isham didnt slow down. I dont suffer from these new diseases theyre dreaming up about yuppie workaholism, Isham told Chris Morris in Billboard. I just enjoy it. For a long time, I didnt [make] any inroads into the mainstream or even [earn enough money] to pay the rent on time. In the last five or six years, that has changed. And Im relishing the fact that its changed.

Isham scored the music for the film The Moderns, which was released by Virgin Records and won the 1988 Los Angeles Critics Award for best score. Working continually as always, Isham also scored The Beast, a movie based on the former Soviet Unions incursion into Afghanistan. A review of the album in Keyboard noted, The Beast aches with the sorrow of war, tempered by Asian vocal modalities and instrumentation. Yet, Isham blends these disparate elements into a linear flow, suggesting that the emotions underlying all the musics of the world are deeper than the stylistic differences his vision so easily absorbs.

Isham continued his collaborations, working with Patrick OHearn on Ancient Dream, Rivers Gonna Rise, and Eldorado, and with Was (Not Was) on their What Up Dog? album. Also in 1989, Isham worked with XTC on Oranges and Lemons.

Isham released his next solo album on Windham Hill, Tibet, which earned the musician a Grammy Award nomination. In 1990 he returned with another album on Virgin Records, called simply Mark Isham, which included guest performances from Tanita Tikaram and Chick Corea. With the songs on his self-titled LP, Isham strove to close the gap between popular music and alternative progressive music.

A Tireless Worker and Genre Jumper

Isham continued his film scoring with the composition for Reversal of Fortune, and in 1990, the American Film Critics named him, along with Ennio Morricone and John Williams, one of their three choices for the best film music of the 1980s. Its something that seemed very natural to me, Isham commented in Billboard, referring to his film work, and the way I think about musicwhat I ask the musical experience to be, what I ask myself to put into music and ask music to then pass on to the audience. Theres a relationship to size and space and scope and depth and color.

Isham returned to the group format when he launched the Mark Isham Jazz Band to provide him with an outlet to play acoustic jazz again. Then, in 1991the same year he earned a Grammy Award for best new age artisthe released another solo album on Windham Hill Records, Songs My Children Taught Me. Isham had originally written the four suites that make up the LP for a series of childrens audio and video recordings based on classic childrens stories. He assembled different groups to invoke different periods and cultures from ancient China to Renaissance England.

Throughout the early to mid-1990s, Isham focused mainly on film scoring. He wrote the music for the motion pictures Point Break, Crooked Hearts, Mortal Thoughts, Freejack, Billy Bathgate, Little Man Tate, Fire in the Sky, and Made in America and received a 1993 Academy Award nomination for the music to A River Runs Through It. Traversing genres and mediums, Isham continued generating music at a startling rate. His love for music has seen him through tireless work in the industry and myriad experiments with sound and direction.

Selected discography

(With Rubisa Patrol) Rubisa Patrol, ECM, 1976.

(With Rubisa Patrol) Desert Marauders, ECM, 1978.

Vapor Drawings, Windham Hill, 1983.

(With Group 87) A Career in Dada Processing, Capitol, 1984.

Film Music, Windham Hill, 1985.

Trouble in Mind, Island, 1986.

(With others) Made in Heaven, Elektra, 1987.

(With Art Lande) We Begin, 1987.

The Beast, A&M, 1988.

Castalia, Virgin, 1988.

The Moderns, Virgin, 1988.

Tibet, Windham Hill, 1989.

Mark Isham, Virgin, 1990.

Reversal of Fortune, Milan America, 1991.

Songs My Children Taught Me, Windham Hill, 1991.

Composer of numerous film scores, including Never Cry Wolf, Mrs. Soffel, The Life and Times of Harvey Milk, Trouble in Mind, The Hitcher, Made in Heaven, The Moderns, The Beast, Reversal of Fortune, Point Break, Crooked Hearts, Mortal Thoughts, Freejack, Billy Bathgate, Little Man Tate, Fire in the Sky, Made in America, and A River Runs Through It.

Sources

ASCAP in Action, fall 1991.

Billboard, February 11, 1984; October 15, 1988; April 6, 1991.

Down Beat, March 1984; June 1984; August 1985; April 1988; January 1991.

Keyboard, November 1985; September 1987; October 1988; December 1988; October 1993.

Musician, June 1984; December 1988.

Pulse!, July 1992.

Stereo Review, January 1991.

Variety August 20, 1986.

Additional information for this profile was obtained from Windham Hill Records publicity materials, 1991.

Sonya Shelton

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Isham, Mark

MARK ISHAM

Born: New York, New York, 7 September 1951

Genre: Soundtrack, Jazz, New Age

Best-selling album since 1990: Mark Isham (1990)


Mark Isham, a trumpeter and a prolific, adaptable soundtrack composer, has insinuated his sounds into American culture through movies, television, advertising, featured solos in other artists' productions, and ambitious recordings under his own name.

Isham's father was a music and history teacher, and his mother was a violinist; he studied violin and piano before settling on trumpet, with which he began his career playing in Bay Area classical orchestras. He also freelanced in jazz, rock, and soul bands in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In this period he fell under the influence of the late jazz trumpeter Miles Davis. Isham's signature sound is a devotee's emulation of Davis's fragile, muted jazz style. Isham also evokes Davis in his movie and television themes, jingles, straightforward album tributes, and live concerts.

During the early 1970s Isham toured with the Beach Boys, Van Morrison, and jazz saxophonists Pharoah Sanders and Charles Lloyd. His interests in mid-1970s ambient music experiments by British rocker Brian Eno and guitarist Robert Fripp inform his recordings with the Seattle-based pianist Art Lande in the quartet Rubisa Patrol (1976). Together, Isham and Lande designed a limpid jazz distillation whose attention to engineered acoustics foreshadowed New Age music. Isham refined this style with his album Group 87 (1980). His solo debut, Vapor Drawings (1983), was one of the first albums on Windham Hill Records, the premiere New Age label.

Isham's music has seldom been entirely meditative. He does not shirk challenges: His first film score for Disney's Never Cry Wolf (1983) was followed by a second, his most acclaimed, for the Academy Awardnominated documentary The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), a film about the assassinated gay alderman of San Francisco. Isham received early acclaim in the form of Grammy nominations in the Best New Age Performance category for Castalia (1988) and Tibet (1989), and won for his eponymous 1990 release, his first album under a new contract with Virgin Records.

Isham has written scores for films featuring major stars such as the Jodie Foster vehicles Little Man Tate (1991) and Nell (1994), but he has also worked with innovative, sound-oriented directors such as Robert Altman on Short Cuts (1993) or Alan Rudolph on Trouble in Mind (1986). Additionally, Isham contributed music to several Rabbit Ears Productions albums of classic stories for children told by comics and actors.

As Isham turned forty, he addressed new goals. In 1992 he premiered Five Stories for Trumpet and Orchestra, his first commissioned orchestral work, and did a stint as soloist with the St. Louis Symphony. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his score for the fisherman's epic, A River Runs through it (1992). He played more jazz live, establishing a touring band to support Blue Sun (1995), his first Columbia album of original tunes, and Duke Ellington's "In A Sentimental Mood," arranged for a relatively conventional quintet. He set himself amid his former employer Charles Lloyd, jazz vibist Gary Burton, pianist Geri Allen, and drummer Billy Higgins for the score to Alan Rudolph's film Afterglow (1998), and he won numerous nominations and occasional awards, including a 1996 Emmy, for his scoring of the television series EZ Streets. His 2003 projects range from an album of duets with female singer/songwriters to remixes of Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald recordings for a Revlon cosmetics commercial campaign.

Musicians such as Mark Isham, who are adept at disseminating their sounds broadly, sometimes remain faceless. But when he steps up to deliver his own inspiration, Isham summons up Miles Davis's 1980s format of electric keyboards and/or guitars and bass with measured rock/soul drumming. Isham does a respectable job at reconstruction but is at a fatal disadvantage when his derivative trumpet playing is compared to the original Davis. This problem disappears when he operates as a composer of soundtracks, creating musical cues that appropriately reflect and/or comment upon action on-screen.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Film Music (Windham Hill, 1985); Trouble in Mind (Island, 1986); Everybody Wins (Virgin U.K., 1990); The Emperor's New Clothes (BMG Kidz, 1990); Mark Isham (Virgin Records, 1990); Little Man Tate (Varese Sarabande, 1991); Billy Bathgate (Milan America, 1991); A River Runs through It (Milan America, 1992); Of Mice and Men (Varese Sarabande, 1992); Short Cuts (Imago, 1993); Quiz Show (Hollywood Records, 1994); Nell (Fox, 1994); Afterglow (Columbia, 1997); Mark Isham: A Windham Hill Retrospective (Windham Hill, 1998); Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project (Columbia Records, 1999); October Sky (Sony Classical, 1999); Men of Honor (Motown Records, 2000); The Majestic (Warner Bros., 2001); Moonlight Mile (Epic Soundtrax, 2002).

howard mandel

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"Isham, Mark." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Isham, Mark." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/isham-mark

"Isham, Mark." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved April 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/isham-mark