Mark McKnight is a guitarist from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mark began his studies in jazz when awarded a scholarship from the Arts Council of Ireland to study at the Skidmore Jazz Institute, NY. The following year Mark attended Berklee College of Music on scholarship from which he graduated in 2006, receiving awards for outstanding musicianship. Since returning to Ireland Mark has established himself as one of the country’s leading young jazz musicians, as attested to by his being named the “Best Young Irish Musician 2009” at the Cork Jazz Festival, and in addition played with some of the island’s most respected classical and concert orchestras, having featured as a soloist in national broadcasts with both the Ulster and RTE Concert Orchestras.
New York based tenor saxophonist/composer Seamus Blake is recognized as one of the finest exponents of contemporary jazz. His music is known for its sophistication, bold improvisations and “sheer swagger”. John Scofield, who hired Seamus for his “Quiet Band,” called him “extraordinary, a total saxophonist.” Seamus Blake’s latest two releases, Bellwether (Criss Cross Jazz 2009) and Live in Italy (Jazz Eyes 2009), have garnered considerable critical praise for his masterful playing, his fine compositional skills and for his facility as a leader. Live in Italy was awarded 4.5 stars in Downbeat. Described as “a knockout”, “one of the elite albums of the year” and “as exhilarating as a shot of espresso”, it is on many Top of the Year lists.
The quartet is completed by young British Hammond organ player Ross Stanley and one of London’s busiest creative drummers James Maddren