MARK ISAACS A splendid musical mind LOS ANGELES TIMES
Australian-based pianist-composer Mark Isaacs (b. 1958) has pursued a unique and demanding career path that has seen him gain international acclaim in both jazz and classical music. Such diversity was nurtured in the crucible of a highly musical family.
Mark's uncle was the legendary British jazz guitarist Ike Isaacs, who worked for many years with jazz violinist Stephane Grapelli and was on friendly terms with many of the biggest names in jazz. Duke Ellington came for dinner one time and there were visits from George Benson, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel and many others. As Mark grew older he would have informal jams with some of the famous musicians who would visit the Isaacs household.
Another uncle was violinist Kelly Isaacs who throughout his London-based career was a distinguished soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. Through his “classical uncle” Mark was able to experience first-hand the highest level of the world classical scene, with connections to Yehudi Menuhin, the London Symphony Orchestra and others.
Mark's father is an accomplished jazz guitarist and songwriter who had one of his songs recorded and released by Petula Clark and his mother had been trained as a classical pianist as well as often singing jazz standards. His father was born in Rangoon, Burma and his mother in Calcutta, India, their forebears being of Baghdadi Jewish origins. They emigrated to London as young adults, where Mark was born. The family emigrated again to Australia when Mark was four.