Pianist and composer John Law, whose trio leads the Invention Studios jazz sessions, talks to Karen Birch about his ten favourite pieces of music
As the mastermind behind the fortnightly jazz sessions which have been running at the Invention Studios in Bath since February, John Law has a passion for music that ranges far beyond the boundaries of jazz. The format of the evening, part jazz gig, part jam session, is modelled on sessions at the former Bass Clef Club in London which he remembers was a great meeting place for musicians: You didn't realise there were so many musicians in the audience. After the set they emerged from the woodwork, they oozed out.
The Bath sessions are proving equally popular. John's trio, which includes Dave Goodier on bass and Andy Hague or Andy Tween on drums, play a set of standard material he rarely plays his own compositions followed by an open improvisation set during which musicians are welcomed on to the stage to join in.
The evenings have attracted a regular audience and John is hoping to extend the programme and invite other professional musicians to join in a final set playing alongside his trio. A classically trained pianist who performed a radical about turn when he took up jazz, John delights in startling audiences by occasionally incorporating a little piece of JS Bach into his improvisations.
When asked to select his top ten pieces of music, John struggled to limit himself and several featured choices are either a whole album or a group of works. But, as he said: They all mean a lot to me and I could have given 20 or 30 more. Most musicians don't really do favourites or at least not just ten.
1 The last three piano sonatas, Schubert
They are just some of my favourite piano works great melodies and wonderful Music, with a capital M. Listening to these works I'm always either in tears or very close.
2 String Quintet in G minor, Mozart
I discovered this work when I was about 15. It blew me away. I think of it as the gateway between Classical and Romantic styles.
3 String Quartet in G and String Quintet, Schubert
Sublime music that has everything from the mysterious through the tender to the dramatic. I couldn't choose between the two.
4 Die Meistersinger, Wagner
One of my early experiences of synaesthesia. When you hear the two main tunes played together at the same time at the end of the opera I could actually see them in front of me like some sonic architecture. A great human opera with none of Wagner's later pomposity.
5 Donna Nobis Pacem, J.S.Bach
The last movement of the great B minor Mass. I feel it's as close as I'll ever get to God on earth -- probably afterwards too!
6 Jazz at Massey Hall, Charlie Parker and others
Called the greatest jazz recording ever it features Charlie Parker on sax, Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet, Charles Mingus on bass, Max Roach on drums and the great piano playing of Bud Powell. Another instance of music becoming almost tangible I could almost see Powell's piano improvisations taking shape in front of my eyes as I listened that first time.
7 All the Things You Are, Keith Jarrett
An amazing journey through Jarrett's own imagination, loosely using the structure of a Hammerstein/Kern show tune. This number, from Standards, Vol 1, influenced a lot of piano players.
8 My Song, Keith Jarrett 9 Paris Concerts, John Coltrane 10 I Love to Love, Tina Charles
I could have picked just about any Coltrane album. I chose this one because there's one passage in Coltrane's tenor improvising that I can never, ever forget.
A bit of a surprise maybe, but it accompanied my first snogs with a girl at a party when I was very young. Luckily it was played many times that night.
9 Paris Concerts, John Coltrane
10 I Love to Love, Tina Charles