Guitarist Ant Law has plenty of prestigious session-playing experience, and is an innovator who has his own tuning system – but this is his first album as a leader, with a sparky UK group including prize-winning pianist John Turville, saxophonist Mike Chillingworth and drummer James Maddren. The central relationship here is between Law and Chillingworth, an admirer of Mark Turner who shares the American’s ability to generate intensity without hectoring. The album feels like a split between a coolly relaxed regular-jazz feel and a more rhythmically edgy contemporary approach. Law sounds distantly Metheny-like on the fast Kanda Jhati, unleashing fast, climbing figures and fluent double time off a staccato theme. The soft chording and diffuse melody of For Silver and the twisting sax theme of Laurvin Glaslowe spark remarkable improvisations that sideline the tunes, but the jazz-swinging Stract has Chillingworth in Lee Konitz mood, and A Bar In Nigeria is racing postbop that showcases the soloists and the A-list rhythm section alike. This would be an exciting band to hear live.
Those wishing to read guitarist/composer Ant Law’s explanation of the title of this, his debut album as a leader (and his views on ‘Perfect Fourths’ tuning etc.), should access the Artist Profile recently conducted by Rob Edgar; you don’t, however, need to know anything about either nuclear physics or the mysteries of the low E flat to enjoy the direct, pulsing energy of Entanglement.
Bustling power, judiciously harnessed with elegance and poise, characterises the eight originals and one jazz classic (Coltrane’s ’Satellite’) that make up this album, on which the intelligent, cogent guitar playing of the fluent, eloquent Law is set against the fierce saxophones of Michael Chillingworth and the thoughtful but slyly robust piano playing of John Turville.
It is the sheer class of the rhythm section (bassist Tom Farmer, drummer James Maddren), however, that is the icing on the cake: whether driving the band through the pleasantly jerky, hard-edged opener, ‘Kanda Jhati’, building the surge beneath ‘Laurvin Glaslowe’ or ticking briskly through the Coltrane composition, Farmer and Maddren are the heartbeat and breath of a vigorous but subtle group sound perfectly calibrated to serve the needs of Law’s often tricksy pieces, which are rhythmically complex enough to stretch both performers and listeners, but are, at the same time, bright, punchy and memorable.
In the studio with Empirical at the moment, bassist Tom Farmer can be heard on the talented guitarist Ant Law’s upcoming new album, Entanglement, to be released on 33 records next month coinciding with a substantial tour. The former Edinburgh university and Berklee student, turned session player, makes his debut as leader at last with this album. With Farmer and Law, Kit Downes Quintet drummer James Maddren hitches up too and interestingly-vinegary former Round Trip saxophonist Michael Chillingworth plus pianist John Turville make up the complete band. Law equates improvising in the album title with quantum entanglement, when particles interact, apparently, but don’t let that put you off, as the improvising here is anything but coldly quantifiable. Law is deeply interested in the concept of a perfect fourths tuning system (tuning the low string to Eb allowing constant intervals between the strings) and is a published author on the subject, but combines the rigour of his academic thinking with instinctive playing of a high order here. His tunes have a holistic feel as the Binney-like Chillingworth runs take hold of the music in breakaway sections displaying well developed improvisational teeth. Not sure about some of the song titles (the otherwise engrossing ’Entanglement 1 – Janus and Epimetheus’ is a bit of a tongue twister), but the playing is impressive throughout, and Maddren sounds as if he’s enjoying himself, as does the always switched-on Farmer.
Mixing a virtuosic technique which takes as much from rock shredders as it does from past masters of jazz guitar, Entanglement gives an interesting and exciting selection of tracks which show off a stunning array of styles and techniques. The album feels like more of a whole band effort at times more than a solo release, with guitars being used heavily for rhythm playing as well as lead lines.
Ant Law doesn’t hog the spotlight at all on various tracks other members of his group step up to the plate and take the lead. The way in which the album allows the whole band to stretch their musical legs through melodies and solos without keeping too much focus on Ant Law’s guitar gives it a much more rounded scope than is often the case with solo releases. When Ant Law is the focus, however, the playing is fantastic, a great young jazz guitar talent.
Guitarist Ant Law was a scholar at both Edinburgh University and Berklee College of Music until moving to London in 2008. He then picked up work with artists such as Mica Paris, Leon Ware, Koby Israelite, Camille O’Sullivan, Britain’s Got Talent star Tony Laf, X-factor winner Steve Brookstein and Eileen Hunter, and members of Incognito and Level 42. Recent gigs include Joe’s Pub (NYC), The Luesther Hall (NYC), Camden’s Roundhouse, The Vortex, The 606, Pizza Express Dean Street, Gent Jazz Festival, Islay Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, Fettes Jazz Festival and Lockerbie Jazz Festival, Croydon Jazz Festival, Music Meeting Festival Nijmengen, The Edinburgh Festival, Arenas all over Europe, Murrayfield stadium and even Wembley Stadium. He can sometimes also be heard playing "Beat It!" or "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" in the theatres of London’s West End!!!
He was honoured to be featured in the July 2011 issue of Europe’s biggest selling "Total Guitar" magazine. Additionally he is a pioneer of a new “Perfect Fourths” tuning system for guitarists, and his book “3rd Millennium Guitar” is available from prestigious publisher Mel Bay.
Ant’s debut album “Entanglement” was released on the 33Jazz record label in February 2013 to great critical acclaim. This project was awarded funding from the Jazz Services Recording Support Scheme. The album launch at Pizza Express Dean Street was sold out and the band then completed a 29-date UK tour, with further support from Jazz Services. Ant completed the second volume of compositions whilst on tour in Brazil this summer and band will showcase the music on their second longer tour in winter 2014. Then they’ll cut the second album. Sign up to the mailing list to stay tuned.
Ant is on and off the road around Europe and the UK with Camille O’Sullivan throughout the rest of 2014, come and see the show! (July 17-20 GERMANY + July 30-Aug 7 EDINBURGH) Oct 4th Colombe (FRANCE) Oct 29-30 Scotland Nov 8 – Kilarney, EIRE Nov 15 – Antrim Nov 22 – Berwick Nov 25-Dec 7 […]
Previous gigs: (due to a very hectic schedule there may be some omissions) Tuesday 19th August QUARTET @ Amersham Arms with Matt Ridley (b), Dave Hamblett (d), Paul Riley (as) Thursday 14th August DUENDE @ Spice of Life Soho (with Ali Van Ryne, Adam Kovacs, Paul Mason, Mike Guy, Johnny Copland, Nick Blake) Tuesday 12th […]
Ant was delighted to be asked by Tim to join a multitude of esteemed musicians including John Pattituci, Jason Rebello, Geoffrey Keezer, Asaf Sirkis, Kevin Glasgow, John Turville and The Royal Northern Sinfonia Strings on his new double CD entitled “Songs To The North Sky”, out on Edition Records. It has received astounding critical acclaim, […]