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John Law, second left, with Re-Creations: Sam Crockett, left, Alex Goodyear and Henrik Jensen (photo: Peter Houtman).

Jazz Hastings welcomes John Law and Re-Creations

The featured artist at the April session of Jazz Hastings is a classical piano child prodigy who switched to jazz at the age of 23 and became one of Europe’s leading jazz pianist/composers. Julian Norridge explains.

John Law, who will be playing on the Jazz Hastings stage with his band Re-Creations on 9 April, began learning the piano at the age of four and gave his first public performance at the age of six. He later won an open scholarship to study piano and composition at the Royal Academy.

But despite being mentored by the great classical pianist Alfred Brendel, he decided in 1986 that his future lay predominantly in jazz.

From 1986 to 1996 John concentrated on the more experimental end of jazz, touring the world with a number of different bands, including his own. Over the same period, he recorded a series of solo CDs called Chants which led him back to his classical roots. They were based on plainchant and, as well as jazz, explored the history and techniques of classical piano and harmonic elements derived from early and medieval music.

From 1996, John moved away from the freer improvising end of jazz to become more involved with contemporary jazz and composition. In the intervening years, he has worked, recorded and written for a wide range of projects featuring many leading musicians. But he never forgot his classical roots. For instance, he had a two-piano collaboration with Jazz Hastings veteran Jason Rebello, opening their concerts with Bach and closing with Ravel’s Bolero.

John Law, from child prodigy to jazz master (photo: Ken Drew).

All in all, John has played at over 50 festivals worldwide and recorded over 40 albums. His current projects include his acclaimed quartet Congregation, featuring Mercury Prize nominee James Mainwaring and playing John’s original acoustic and electronic music, Renaissance, which improvises over samples created out of sacred vocal music from the 15th and 16th centuries, and the outfit featured in this gig, Re-Creations, with Parliamentary Jazz Award winner Sam Crockett on saxophone, Henrick Jensen on bass and Alex Goodyear on drums.

The band was formed in 2016, as a counterfoil to John’s original compositions. It began as a fun project, playing lots of different tunes from different genres. But gradually the arrangements became more complex and interesting, while remaining accessible because the audience generally know the tunes.

The quartet’s repertoire includes jazz classics from the likes of Monk, Miles Davis and Gershwin, and pop/rock tunes (Pink Floyd, Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Radiohead). More recently classical pieces have started appearing, such as the Kyrie from Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Debussy’s Claire De Lune and Satie’s Gymnopédie.

The evening will be a true musical feast.


John Law and Re-Creations Jazz Hastings, Tuesday 9 April, East Hastings Sea Angling Association (on the Stade behind the lifeboat station). Doors open 7.45pm for 8.30 start, tickets £15 on the door, £3 for under 18s.


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Posted 16:26 Friday, Apr 5, 2024 In: Music & Sound

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