An adventurous and accessible jazz group, formed by four of the most distinctive jazz musicians and composers in the UK.
Formed in 1992 by four of the most distinctive jazz musicians and composers in Britain, Perfect Houseplants has rapidly achieved a reputation as one of the most innovative and challenging jazz groups to emerge in the 1990s. The group's unique and colourful compositions and musical interaction has established them as an adventurous but accessible group on the cutting edge of European music. The group has frequently performed and recorded for BBC Radio 3 and has also been commissioned by the BBC on a number of projects.
Perfect Houseplants is renowned for its cross-over projects with the award winning Orlando Consort, violin genius Andrew Manze and, on their latest recording of radical re-workings of English folk music, virtuoso recorder player Pamela Thorby.
The group’s debut album, simply entitled Perfect Houseplants, was met with a positive response: Jazz on CD described it as "The best British jazz album of 1993" and The Guardian wrote, "They are at the cutting edge of contemporary jazz music with an innovative approach to composition, operating in a territory of folksy tunes, sultry tangos, waltzes and busy time changes."
The band’s second album Clec (1995) opened a significantly larger sound world by using accordion, prepared piano, percussion, cello and sampled sounds as well as the more conventional line-up of saxophones, piano, bass and drums. The album was reviewed to critical acclaim.
In 1996 Perfect Houseplants signed a contract with Linn Records and their first album, Snap Clatter was released in 1997, "More drama than the RSC" said The Wire. This album further developed the band's unique way of orchestrating its original compositions and draws inspiration from many other musical forms, including Contemporary Classical, Brazilian, Ragtime and even Cartoon music. Jazzwise commented, "If Snap Clatter were a book – it would be 'Alice In Wonderland', a clever whimsical journey profuse with ideas."
The period between 1996 and 1997 also saw two important cross-over projects with musicians from the Early and Baroque worlds. Extempore brought together Perfect Houseplants with the award winning early music group The Orlando Consort. Taking modes and plainchant as the starting point, the project has appealed to a large cross-section of listeners and has led to concerts in Europe such as La Biennale di Venezia. A project commissioned by BBC Radio 3 with violinist supremo Andrew Manze was broadcast the same year.
The Millennium saw Perfect Houseplants performing in Europe and many International festivals as well as recording their fifth album entitled New Folk Songs. This is considered by many to be their most accomplished recording so far and started as a commission to write new music based on folk music from East Anglia. The album features the virtuoso recorder playing of Pamela Thorby on four radical re-workings of traditional songs.
The members of Perfect Houseplants have played and recorded with a glittering array of American and European artists including: Dave Holland, Django Bates, June Tabor, Kenny Wheeler, Manu Katche, Lee Konitz, Ralph Towner, Steve Swallow, Prefab Sprout, Radiohead, Mike Gibbs, Colin Towns, Andy Sheppard, Billy Cobham, Robert Wyatt and Jah Wobble.
Perfect Houseplants comprises Mark Lockheart soprano & tenor saxophones, Huw Warren piano, accordion & percussion, Dudley Philips acoustic & electric bass, Martin France drums & electric percussion.