Liverpool Echo feature on ANT LAW quartet 



House of Trees: 14/01/14     Liverpool Sound and Vision

SNARKY PUPPY * 10/11/12 * 

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DECEMBER 5, 11.03am


Liverpool’s Hidden Jazz Gem.

The flyer said, ‘8-till late’, but in true jazz style, nine o’clock was when the Parr Jazz Night kicked off, or rather smoothly tapped off. The opening piece was ‘Blue sky’, performed by this Tuesday’s group of truly talented musicians. Drums, jazz-flute, double bass, saxophone, semi-acoustic guitar; place them in the hands of these guys and be prepared for pure, hissing classic-bluesy-jazzy-smooth jazz. Dan Woolf, on drums, particularly struck the attention of my ears, with his expert timing, and the ability to set such a hot sound that it melted everyone in the room.

The plain coolness (there is no other word to describe it) of the music laid out the chilled ambience of the night which was also reflected in the surroundings at Studio2, Parr Street. Everything about Studio2 is cool; comfy plush couches, warm low lighting, candles dotted around, the fact that the place actually used to be a recording studio. This fact is exploited to the benefit of the cosy space. All the features of what the studio used to be in the very recent past still exist, but are now combined with cushions, rich curtains and flat screen TVs. The bar area is recognisably the ex-Mixing Room, and is aptly called, the “Mixing Room”. Strewn around the walls are pictures of famous artists who have recorded there. Coldplay, The Spice Girls, and Barry Manilow (Barry Manilow!) can all be attached to this list. All this combined, works to give Studio2 a relaxed and modern atmosphere. It really is a unique Liverpool gem, hidden away in little Parr Street.

The group’s performance was very relaxed, with individuals choosing when to join in on a song, when to change instrument and whether to just wander about, pint in hand (a true Jazz performance). Musicians were turning up late, again, in true Jazz form. The fiery red-head who led the night announced they had a late keyboardist, with keyboard, but without keyboard stand. Did anybody in the audience have a spare keyboard stand in their car boot? Though overt Jazz lovers, none loved Jazz keyboard so much that they carried around a stand. The audience were mainly of, again, classic Jazz style; late twenties to middle-aged, very chilled out and plain cool. They were the type of people we aspire to be like, or we aspire our parents to be like. Though there was an age difference, the atmosphere allowed you to sink into the general comfortable vibe, so that you felt at ease and accepted.

After a break of “fifteen minutes” (which if you don’t speak Jazz means “maybe fifteen minutes minimum”), the group were joined by special guests, Walking Shoes. The two-man-band consisted of Dave Roberts and Andy Henderson. Vocals, saxophone, trumpet and tenor saxophone (or maxiphone as I prefer to call it, because it is really just a big saxophone) were exhibited, and never performed with more emotion or brilliance.

Another Jazz break later and the Jam session was underway. The final part of the night allowed the audience to prove their Jazz prowess. First man up was an impressive trumpeter, filling his stage-time with notes that howled deliciously out of that brass horn. A couple of students later joined on the double-bass and drums; jamming fine, and proving that Jazz is not just for the middle-aged. It was interesting to see the interaction between the regulars and the people who joined them to jam. Body language was necessary to maintain the Jazz gallantry, that is, knowing when to solo and how long for to prevent peeving another player. Jazz gallantry seemed to get lost in the lights, brass notes and chilled out faces of the audience when some musicians jumped aboard.

The Jam went on until the wee hours of the unwound morning. Drinks were drunk, stress was relaxed and egos were uplifted in this little room on Parr Street. Tuesday nights at Studio2 are truly blissful for Jazz or music lovers, or even those who just want to relax with a drink in a ‘cool-vibes’ place. Here is Jazz in its classic form, even more enjoyable for the fact that it feels so hidden in a big city. I implore you to go to this funky Aladdin’s cave, if not for the Jazz, for the fact that Barry Manilow recorded there!