Review: The Ant Law Quartet at Swing Unlimited Jazz Club

As Oscar Wilde said, “It’s easy to be good in the country”.  So it was that at the end of a day ‘Bunburying’ in Brighton, I found myself in ‘A Bar in Nigeria’, courtesy of the sensational Ant Law and his quartet.  Once again, world-class jazz comes to the Swing Unlimited Jazz Club in Westbourne.

I hopped off the train, took a taxi straight to the club, and stepped inside to the accompaniment of a swingin’ uptempo ‘Is You is or is You Ain’t My Baby’.  This was the support act !  The SUJC house band featured terrific local talents: the Justin Bieber of drums Luke Allen, Joe Limburn on double-bass, John on guitar, Wendy Dimmick on vocals and Pat Peiro on trumpet (minus sadly tonight his friendly gags) – what a welcome!

Just time to bag a Guinness at the intimate bar, where saxophonist Mark Chillingworth was warming his tubes, take a seat and kick back as the Ant Law Quartet took to the stage.  All but one of the tunes in the two hours  set were original Ant Law compositions.  Worth the early train back for this pristine, contemporary jazz.  Every piece was a musical story in miniature and would take me back in my mind over my day’s journey.  A little bit like Proust’s madeline, but in music not words.

Self-dubbed ‘The East London Biriani Group’, the Ant Law Quartet’s tuneful and exciting compositions, taken from the latest release album ‘Entanglement’, are fresh and stimulating.  Hightlights included the uptempo and full of life ‘Laurvin Glaslowe’, the classically melodic ‘For Silver’ and others surely set for standard status like ‘Stract’ – alongside just one cover.  Oh boy! how brilliantly placed and interpreted John Coltrane’s ‘Satellite’ was.  Like the train returning me from Brighton, some tunes halted abruptly and precisely at each station – all the carriages – sorry, players, absolutely in sync.  In others they segued seamlessly from one tune into another .

The second half of the set featured Entanglement II.  It is a fresh challenging aspect of the musical avant garde, with strong rhythm and superb fretwork from Law on his guitar, daring, rhythmic and with a touch of humour, especially the faux ‘tune up’ as part of the piece.   Every number was stunningly played and beautifully pitched, each player integrated and precisely in time and featured on magnificent solos and some great duets, strikingly during ‘Stract’ between Laws and alto saxophonist Michael Chillingworth.  Chillingworth’s alto was a magical instrument in masterly hands, not afraid of squeaking his reed to good effect and giving us arabic riffs, enlivening many tunes.  Also superb duets between bass and drums.  The double bass, played with incredible energy, and I shouldn’t wonder stainless steel fingers by the smouldering Tom Farmer, lent real funk to tunes such as Kanda Jhati.  The fast paced rhythms and spinning melodies like ‘A Bar in Nigeria’ were superbly paced by ace drummer James Maddren, making great use of snare and percussive cymbals.

This was billed as the launch gig for Ant Law’s new and, I believe debut, album ‘Entanglement’ and what a treat it was at Swing Unlimited Jazz Club.  World class truly sums up Ant Law and his Quartet.  As it does for  next week’s gig, from Paris, international African/French jazz from AfuriKo – can’t wait.  See you there.

The sensational Ant Law Quintet on their "Entanglement" album tour from London this Wednesday 6th March - seriously don't miss this phenomenal jazz guitarist & composer! Entry only £7.00, support from the SUJC house band featuring @[100000919512209:2048:Luke Allen] on drums and Joe Limburn on double-bass along side John on guitar, @[710568372:2048:Wendy Dimmick] on vocals and Pat Peiro on trumpet, flugal, vocals and bad jokes... ;-)



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