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Monday, February 16, 2015

CD review: Ant Law – Zero Sum World

Ant Law (guitar), Michael Chillingworth (alto & soprano saxophones, clarinet, bass clarinet), Tom Farmer (double bass), James Maddren (drums) & Ivo Neame (piano)
(Review by Russell)
Ant Law studied physics at Edinburgh University. The ‘Zero Sum Game,’ familiar to those with an understanding of mathematics, was the inspiration for the title of Law’s new CD Zero Sum World. Guitarist Law is a published author – 3rd Millennium Guitar: An Introduction to Perfect 4th Tuning. If all this sounds a bit high brow, well, it is, but don’t be deterred, the music is great!
Ant Law sits down to play. So what? Law isn’t a poseur craving front man status. He plays guitar. He plays guitar as well as anyone you’re likely to hear. Zero Sum World features four friends (three of them from Law’s debut CD Entanglement) who possess talent the equal of the bandleader. All are busy on the contemporary jazz scene, touring and recording a variety of projects, and this new album underscores their togetherness.
Law writes for the unit; on occasion guitar and reeds (Michael Chillingworth) appear to be as one, drummer James Maddren’s musicality and invention elevate him beyond any notion of being employed as a timekeeper, similarly bassist Tom Farmer, a creative force in his own right alongside pianist Ivo Neame.
Prelude and companion piece Waltz are right out of the Jim Hall/Joe Pass book of guitar playing. If Law, Hall and Pass sat together with a beer the conversation would have been ‘out there’. Best to leave them to it! Monument (Ant Law’s homage to fellow guitarist Ben Monder) covers a lot of ground; Neame’s pensive probing, Maddren’s lazily, tight drumming, Chillingworth’s brooding clarinet and a burst of collective free playing. The closing Blues is a melodic, contemporary slow blues featuring Tom Farmer’s alternate tuning solo. Neame takes it on, late-night swing, alto and guitar take it home.
Note for guitar heads/musos – each of the eleven tracks features Law’s guitar tuned in perfect fourths.
Ant Law’s Zero Sum World is released today – February 16 – on Michael Janisch’s Whirlwind Recordings label (catalogue number WR4663). The album was recorded by Troy Miller at Sand House Studios (as was Law’s debut CD Entanglement).
Zero Sum World has an album launch at London’s Soho Pizza Express Jazz Club on 16th and 17th February. For tour dates visit: www.antlaw.co.uk Tyneside readers may wish to know that Ant Law appears with Tim Garland at Sage Gateshead on Monday 4th May.  
Russell           

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