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Mark-Almond - First (1971) extended





Jon Mark - lead vocals,guitars, percussion, harmonica
Jonny Almond -sax, flutes, vocals
Tommy Eyre -piano, vocals
Roger Sutton - bass, vocals

Mark–Almond was an English band of the late 1960s and early 1970s, who worked in the territory between rock and jazz. In 1970 Jon Mark and Johnny Almond formed Mark-Almond (also occasionally referred to as The Mark-Almond Band). The melancholy tones of saxophonist Almond were an integral part of the group's sound, and Almond frequently played flutes as well, including the rarely-heard bass flute. Characterized by a blend of blues and jazz riffs, latin beats, and a mellow rock aesthetic, and in contrast the heavier guitar-driven rock of his contemporaries, composer and band leader Mark worked at producing warm and melodic works.

Jon Mark and Mick Jagger co-produced Marianne Faithfull's early recordings, for which Mark played and toured with Faithfull on acoustic guitar. He also toured with folksinger Alun Davies (later of Cat Stevens), and was a bandmate of Davies in the short-lived Sweet Thursday.

Johnny Almond had previously played in the Alan Price Set and had recorded a 1970 solo record for Deram Records, Johnny Almond's Music Machine, as well as performing considerable session work in England, working with Chicken Shack and others.

The two began playing together in John Mayall's popular Bluesbreakers band in 1969, and can be heard on the records The Turning Point and Empty Rooms. From that experience they decided to form Mark-Almond.

Mark-Almond's first two albums, Mark-Almond (1971) and Mark-Almond II (1972) were recorded for Bob Krasnow's Blue Thumb label, and were noted for their embossed envelope-style album covers. The group then recorded two albums for Columbia Records, Rising (1972) and the live Mark-Almond 73 (1973), by which time the group's members had grown to seven. The liltingly arranged but thematically depressing "What Am I Living For" from 73 gained the group the most U.S. radio airplay they would get, but nevertheless they disbanded later that year.

Jon Mark released a solo record for Columbia Song For A Friend in 1975. He and Almond reunited in 1975 and released To the Heart on ABC Records in 1976, which featured noted drummer Billy Cobham. Other notable musicians who have recorded or toured with Mark-Almond include drummer Dannie Richmond, violinst Greg Bloch, keyboardist Tommy Eyre and bassist Roger Sutton. Eyre and Sutton later teamed in Riff Raff. A&M Records signed the duo in 1978 and released Other Peoples Rooms, but the record did not sell as well as earlier releases. A number of European releases followed, but Mark-Almond disbanded again in the early 1980s. Mark-Almond reunited again in 1996 for a CD called Night Music featuring keyboardist Mike Nock and others.

Jon Mark eventually moved to New Zealand in the mid-1980s and has released a number of successful solo New Age music recordings on his White Cloud music label, as well as collaborating with other artists on traditional Celtic and folk recordings and producing other artists. A release of Tibetan Monk chants Mark recorded and produced with his wife Thelma Burchell won a Grammy award in 2004. Johnny Almond at last report was living in the San Francisco Bay area.

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