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Scott Flanigan Trio & Ant Law: Clouded Lines – Electrifying chemistry on a confident, forward-looking album

On his second outing, the Belfast pianist shows himself to be a composer and band leader of originality and depth

Clouded Lines by Scott Flanigan Trio & Ant Law
Clouded Lines
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Artist: Scott Flanigan
Genre: Jazz
Label: SF Sounds

Over the past decade Scott Flanigan has become a fixture on the Irish jazz scene, in constant demand as a side man, at the piano or the Hammond organ, with credits that run from Van Morrison to the Ulster Orchestra. His debut recording, 2015′s likeable Point of Departure, was a classic piano-trio album that announced a pianist steeped in that tradition, frankly acknowledging a debt to his influences, particularly the US pianist Brad Mehldau.

With his second outing, the Belfast pianist spreads his wings, revealing an artist not only in growing command of his instrument but also a composer and band leader of originality and depth. To his core trio with the Dublin rhythm-section masters Dave Redmond, on bass, and Kevin Brady, on drums, Flanigan adds the mercurial UK guitarist Ant Law. The chemistry between the four is electrifying. Law’s muscular sound and feathery lines find interesting ways into and through the leader’s deftly arranged compositions, and Redmond and Brady are alive to the possibilities of each moment.

Whether it is the boppy bounce of If It’s Not Yourself, the insistent back beat of She Has Music (a wonderful cover of a song by the Dublin vocalist Sue Rynhart) or the spreading grandeur of the three-part suite that gives the album its title, Clouded Lines is a confident and forward-looking record, and one that will further enhance Flanigan’s reputation as a pianist, leader and composer.

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a musician, writer and director