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About John Law

Whether as a composer or a free improviser, British pianist John Law places his training in Baroque classical music at the service of an elegant, delicate brand of distinctly European-flavored jazz. Law began playing piano at age four and went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London, but left classical music to embrace avant-garde jazz in 1986, during his 20s. He first formed a trio called Atlas with bassist Paul Rogers and drummer Mark Sanders, which by the early '90s had become the remainder of the Jon Lloyd Quartet, appearing on several albums. He also struck up a long association with South African drummer Louis Moholo, and in 1993 formed the Extremely Quartet with Moholo, bassist Barry Guy, and saxophonist Paul Dunmall; they issued an eponymous album on HatHut in 1997. In the mid-'90s, Law recorded a trilogy of adventurous solo piano albums for Future Music (1994's Talitha Cumi, 1996's Pentecost, 1997's The Hours) that fused jazz with plainchant and medieval music; during this period, he also worked with Evan Parker, Keith Tippett, David Murray, and the Dedication Orchestra. In 1996, wanting to explore more traditionally rhythmic conceptions of jazz, Law formed a trio with bassist Tim Wells and drummer Paul Clarvis; that year they issued two albums, Giant Leaves (Autumn Steps) and the Monk-themed The Onliest, again on Future Music. Dave Wickins later replaced Clarvis, and also joined Law's new quartet the Moment Band, which also featured saxophonist Tim Garland and bassist Alec Dankworth. In 2000, Law formed his own label and distribution company, Cornucopia. The following year, his new project Abacus (a long-form suite which also gave another new Law quartet its name) appeared on HatHut; it reunited Law with Jon Lloyd and Tim Wells, and added drummer Gerry Hemingway (Anthony Braxton). ~ Steve Huey