All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

190

Ian Shaw: A World Still Turning

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

Sign in to view read count
I know I'm late to the party, since Briton Ian Shaw already has two Milestone CDs out in North America, but I've only recently "discovered" him with his first release for 441 Records, that new label run by seasoned hands. I have only one word for his music—yowpers! —but will be pleased to elaborate.

In a world currently rather short on male jazz singers, and positively deficient in those who are both gifted and sincere—as opposed to being annoyingly mannered or Sinatra copycats—Shaw grabbed my lapels with the first track. He's taken that '70s pop hit by Gilbert O'Sullivan, "Alone Again Naturally," blown off the dust, strained all the treacle out, and replaced it with soul. With just his voice and his own fine piano playing, it becomes a searing and direct personal statement. Who knew?

And yes, that voice... It's supple, strong, rangey, and utterly compelling, smooth or rough-edged in the service of telling the song's truth—and his own. His phrasing is natural and completely convincing. The material includes Kurt Weill, David Bowie, Elton John, Radiohead, Randy Newman, Alan Broadbent/Mark Murphy, Jimmy Dorsey and Bob Dylan; all of it transformed and reborn through Shaw's singular style. He stands squarely in the jazz tradition—influenced by Mel Torme and Sarah Vaughan, among others—but seems to be inventing his own at the same time.

This is the kind of CD that will stay in "repeat" mode for a long time to come, as its many facets reveal their gleam. For now, it's enough to hear the opener and "Soon as the Weather Breaks," the killer blues duet with Mark Murphy, the funk/rock/blues version of Dylan's "You Gotta Serve Somebody," the stark, tender, chill-inducing "I'm Glad There is You," with just Billy Childs' piano backing Shaw, and Shaw's own "Rockabye"; the story of a mother fearing for her son who's fighting a desert war, which brought me to my knees. We have a son in Iraq, but the song's intensity will move anyone who sees the tragic insanity of our current engagement (and wars in general, for that matter). And then there's "This is Always" a little-known beauty from Mack Gordon. And...

Oh. Did I mention that the band is superb? I've always loved Billy Childs, and Paul Bollenback's guitar commentary is exquisite. Eric Alexander enriches three tracks with his big tenor sound, Peter Washington has his usual masterful sense, and drummer Mark Fletcher, hitherto unknown to me, is just right.

I hear Shaw will be in the States in November and January. If I have to take a thermos, blanket and lawn chair to wait for a ticket, I'll be there.


Track Listing: Alone Again Naturally; We All Fall in Love Sometimes; Peace; Soon as the Weather Breaks; Rockabye; Don't Ask Why; Speak Low; Gotta Serve Somebody; I'm Glad There is You; Guilty; The Tourist.

Personnel: Ian Shaw: voice, piano; Bill Childs: piano; Peter Washington: bass; Mark Fletcher: drums; Paul Bollenback: guitar; Eric Alexander: tenor sax.

Title: A World Still Turning | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: 441 Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Oscar Peterson Plays CD/LP/Track Review
Oscar Peterson Plays
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2018
Read State Of The Baritone Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
State Of The Baritone Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one) CD/LP/Track Review
Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one)
by Chris May
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Friends & Family CD/LP/Track Review
Friends & Family
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read "Wake Up Call" CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Tilt" CD/LP/Track Review Tilt
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 18, 2017
Read "Long Haul" CD/LP/Track Review Long Haul
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 22, 2017
Read "Little Steps" CD/LP/Track Review Little Steps
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow" CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by John Sharpe
Published: January 23, 2018
Read "Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns" CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017