(Outside In Music. Available from Bandcamp. CD Review by Patrick Hadfield)
Lockdown was a hard time for many people as they faced isolation, grief and the sudden loss of their livelihoods. But some musicians managed to turn this to their advantage, spending their enforced time away from gigging by writing and using new technologies to collaborate with others, and there seems to be a blossoming of creativity currently.
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Ant Law and Alex Hitchcock’s Same Moon in The Same World is one of the fruits of lockdown, a lively, optimistic album recorded remotely on different continents. Law and Hitchcock assembled a variety of artists to collaborate on the album – four drummers, two bass players, and several other guests. The two leaders share the writing credits, the music’s authorship alternating by track (aside from the final piece, John Coltrane’s After the Rain). Given the varied personnel and the restrictions limiting their ability to rehearse or record face-to-face, one might have expected the results to be a hotch-potch. It’s far from that: Law and Hitchcock have wrought a cohesive, balanced and impressive record.
Which is not to say the guests don’t leave their mark. The drummers – Eric Harland, Jeff Ballard, Kendrick Scott and Sun-Mi Hong – are excellently matched to the tunes. Harland brings a powerful, slightly off kilter energy – on Law’s Haven’t Meta Yet, he plays a series of complex, punctuated rhythms, almost stepping into drum ‘n’ bass. Hong plays on two of the slower tracks, Chrysalis and Vivid, propelling the tunes with a gentle subtlety.
Bass players Linda May Han Oh and Ben Williams also make an impression. In addition to playing bass, Oh provides some vocalese on Law’s Vivid. Her voice merges with Hitchcock’s tenor to haunting effect, and her bass solo plays off Joel Ross‘s vibraphone beautifully.
Ross also features on Salvo, a lovely piece by Hitchcock. His solo, accompanied by Scott’s deft but emphatic cymbal work and occasional punctuation from Law, has an ethereal and impressionistic feel. In contrast, Hitchcock’s tenor solo, which follows it, seems earthy and grounded.
Law and Hitchcock are joined on Don’t Wait Too Long by Tim Garland playing bass clarinet, as well as Ballard, Williams and Ross. A slow, wistful tune, its combination of clarinet, vibes and saxophone over acoustic guitar and Ballard’s understated drumming is lovely.
This is, of course, Law and Hitchcock’s album. As well as their skill as writers, their playing on a variety of guitars and tenor sax respectively creates a spellbinding record.
Ant Law and Alex Hitchcock are playing the EFG London Jazz Festival, supporting Sun-Mi Hong on 17 November 2022.