Ant Law ‘Zero Sum World’ (Whirlwind) 3/5

ant-lawComposer, guitarist and leader Ant Law has performed with an array of current jazz talent including Tim Garland and pianist Gwilym Simcock , but has not been content to restrict himself to the jazz sphere and outside of this has played with both soul singer-songwriter Leon Ware and singer Camille O’Sullivan. His present quintet is a step up from the first album, ‘Entanglement’ (33 Jazz), and is an example of progressive acoustic jazz for the twenty-first century with a relaxed feel to the project as a whole. The recording works best in the use of intricate interplay between guitarist and multi-reedist Michael Chillingworth, the latter of whom, to these ears at least, comes across as something of a Lee Konitz acolyte. Indeed the two perform effectively in tandem on the delicate piece ‘Waltz’ with plenty of opportunities for the piano to operate and Ivo Neame is a seasoned professional who is more than capable of exploiting this space fully. Jazz-fusion hues are prominent on ‘Mishra Jathi’ with the just faintest hint of Pat Metheny, though the number is a little too intricate for its own good in parts. A more relaxed groove is in place on the title track and here the alto solo is taken at a leisurely pace and is heard at its most lyrical on the ballad ‘Asymptotes’ with guitar again playing an active supporting role. Law studied guitar under the tutelage of professor Ben Monder and among influences the guitar sound hints at both Kenny Burrell and Pat Metheny and he would do well to take on board some of their compositions while perfecting his own writing skills. Never one to sit on his laurels, Ant Law is a busy musician and will be featured on a forthcoming album on the Whirlwind album by the Paul Riley Quintet, ‘Into the View’, which is due out in April.

Tim Stenhouse