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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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These Skies In Which We Rust

33Extreme 06




  1. When Planets Collide (for Robert Mitchell)

  2. Seven Ate Nine

  3. The Music Of The Night

  4. To Do Today : To Die

  5. These Skies In Which We Rust

  6. Lucky 13! (for Jasper Law)


  1. I Sink Therefore I Swam (for Jasper Hølby)

  2. Set Theory

  3. Conical (for Asaf Sirkis)

  4. Incarnadine Day

  5. I Hold My Soul To The Wind (for Holly Law)

John Law - Piano, keyboards, glockenspiel

Josh Arcoleo - Tenor sax (CD 1 tracks 3, 4, CD 2 tracks 1, 4)

Yuri Goloubev - Double bass

Laurie Lowe - Drums, ibo drum (CD 1 track 3)

Holly Law - Voice (CD 2 track 5)

By any criteria you care to use, John Law is a remarkable musician. From his early days as a child prodigy and his immersion in the classical tradition, to his decision in his early twenties to take up jazz piano, he has shown tremendous application and an admirable spirit of adventure as well as superlative gifts as a composer and pianist. His live performances are highly satisfying and what is more, he has always managed to find like-minded musicians of quality for his trio work. That remains true of this new two-disc album, although on this occasion a fourth member of the group has been added, namely the tenor sax player Josh Arcoleo. The arresting title comes from poetry written by Holly Law, John's daughter, and, in fact, three of her poems are reproduced in the accompanying booklet and provided starting points for three of John's compositions. Her clear voice can be heard towards the end of the final track on the second disc.

There are a number of outstanding tracks. I found Seven Ate Nine exciting, conveying some of the atmosphere of a live performance. There were quieter passages as well as pyrotechnics on display. To Do Today : To Die proves to be something of a curiosity – the words of the title being repeated almost as a mantra. Still, I liked the style of Josh Arcoleo on this one, urgent when needed, silky where appropriate. These Skies In Which We Rust was thoroughly enjoyable with an orchestral beginning, a flowing melody and a choral ending. Drum and bass provided first-class support and the glockenspiel was in evidence, as on several other tracks, adding an extra musical dimension. Lucky 13! fairly steams along, propelled by John Law's tremendous élan and verve and by the drive of his rhythm section. On the second disc Conical, dedicated to drummer and percussionist Asaf Sirkis, commends itself by the quality of the piano/keyboards, bass and drum interaction. I Hold My Soul To The Wind is a wistful, romantic ballad with an enchanting opening piano solo, joined by resonant bass and backed by discreet drumming. Incarnadine Day (the word seems to mean blood-stained) was written for 9/11 and is undoubtedly atmospheric.

John Law possesses superb technique and his music is marked by hypnotic riffs and exceptional lyricism. Both Law and the stalwart Yuri Goloubev were previously known to me but the immaculate Laurie Lowe on drums was a revelation. You'll gather that I'm a fan of this album and should anyone think that Law is a one-trick pony or has forgotten his classical roots, it may interest you to know that he has also had issued recently his interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations. Truly a man of parts.

James Poore

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