Not many jazz bands pack a laptop as part of their musical arsenal, but it was a required piece of kit for the Mark Lockheart Quartet when they appeared at the Cathedral Hotel.

Mark Lockheart
Mark Lockheart

Led by the saxophonist and composer, this was an ensemble that blended modern sensibilities and technology with good, old-fashioned musicianship and songcraft.

With a sound world not dissimilar to that occupied by Jan Garberak, with plaintive, minimalist spirals of saxophones against an ever-changing background of drums, bass, keyboard, found sounds, samples and live looping.

Accompanied by Dan Nicholls on keyboards and technology, bassist Tom Herbert and drummer Dan Smith, much of the music came from their most recent release Dreamers.

Many of the pieces were long-form explorations of time, texture and tone, with probing musicianship. The moods ranged from The Beatles-influenced Marmalade Skies, and the aggressive, techno-inspired Thanks for That, which featured some fine soloing on keyboards and saxophone and a bass sound enhanced by a distortion pedal.

The title track of Dreamers was a poppier piece, with motifs for bass echoed by the saxophone and almost punkish energy.

Nature for Nature was another complicated piece that left much room for musical exploration, while the final piece was another long-form exploration, Mingle Tingle, which Lockheart described as his attempt to write a rock number – a challenge that all of the musicians strongly embraced.