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Classically trained pianist, John Law took a shining to jazz while in his 20’s and eventually teamed up with some of Europe’s best and brightest free jazz artisans yet subsequently decided to tone matters down a bit. Here, Law aligns with American drummer/composer Gerry Hemingway for a spirited set also featuring Law’s longtime associates, saxophonist, Jon Lloyd and bassist, Tim Wells.
Marked by the leader’s linear lines, spaciously perpetuated statements and limber left-hand, right-hand coordination, the quartet pursues peppery rhythms and a festive atmosphere on the opener, “Ouverture”. However, the ensemble frequently melds austere overtones with booming patterns and reverberant rhythms, whereas Hemingway often alters the flow via his crisply executed rim-shots and polyrhythmic fills amid Law’s lower register comping and fluent soloing. Throughout, the pianist performs with the grace and ebullience of a well-traveled concert pianist, yet Law also injects cascading chord progressions, idiosyncratic phraseology and harmonically rich themes into pieces such as “Courante” and the quaintly rendered, “Burlesque.”
The musicians’ rekindle fond memories of Keith Jarrett’s work with saxophonist Dewey Redman, during the nine minute opus titled, “Gigue” as they keenly utilize space and depth alongside animated choruses and asymmetrical currents. Thus, listening to this fine new recording signifies time well spent.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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