Related Reviews
Jazzman
"Elle les aborde avec aisance sur une tessiture très large..."
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...rapt hush punctuated only by applause
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... so musically talented that hearing them verges on the sublime
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LondonJazz
Manly's Nina Simone Songbook was a definite hit
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Singer's Singer - In Tune International
"glorious...utterly breathtaking"
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Newbury Today
...as good a set as we have heard
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HiFi.nl
"Een ware ontdekking."
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StereoMojo
"Lifejacket is an intelligent and sophisticated collection of stories..."
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Vortex
"impressive throughout...Warmly recommended."
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In Tune International
"Gill has a warmly evocative vocal style..."
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Record Collector
4 Stars
"a smooth performance"
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Daily Mail
hearing that great voice again (very like Ella Fitzgerald), the years drop away and the lyrics trace patterns on my heart
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Atlanta Audio Society
"seamless vocal artistry"
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Audiophile Audition
4 Stars
"what a voice and delivery!"
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6moons.com
...sometimes a recording just transcends tastes and styles
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Sempre Audio (translation)
"And having reached the last page, leaves you wanting more . . . "
more >>
Sempre Audio
"Und am Ende angelangt, will man mehr davon..."
more >>
Home Theater Hi-Fi, Spirit of Change & Bay Area Reporter
5 Stars
"The voice...is adorable. You've got to hear this fabulous artist."
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Jazzwise
Songs "sung with such intelligence and self-possession".
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Hi-Fi i Muzyka
5 Stars
Record of the Year in the Jazz Vocal category
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Hi-Fi Magazine
Album of the Year 2008!
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Yorkshire Post
Manly is superb, her rich voice bringing the best out of the lyrics...
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The Jazz Breakfast
5 Stars
"It's truly remarkable and truly inspiring to hear a "new" singer who is this good."
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Sunday Post
"...a treat for lovers of top-notch jazz..."
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Scotland on Sunday
3 Stars
...a very feminine, feather-light voice, terrific control and - judging by the selection here - great taste in repertoire and musicians
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Sunday Herald
...the spirit of Ella Fitzgerald is hovering close by
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The Herald
4 Stars
Guy Barker is the trumpet foil here, on a set of songs associated with Ella Fitzgerald. You'd have to be good to pull that concept off, and Gill Manly sure is.
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Coda
Establishes him also as a gifted songwriter.
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Jazz Times
If "Lifejacket" doesn't end up at or very near the top of this year's jazz vocal roster, I'll eat my iPod.
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Atlantic Audio Society
Ian Shaw's first collection of self-penned songs, makes an indelible impression
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The Vortex Website
The focus is firmly and deservedly on Shaw's considerable gift for lyric writing and his own versatile, unmistakable voice. Strongly recommended.
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BBC Website
He's moved from Canada to Camden and he's laying his own life bare.
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Observer Music Monthly
4 Stars
A reminder of what an important talent he is.
more >>
The Scotsman
3 Stars
The (Joni) Mitchell influence is palpable on the songwriting
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Time Out
Shaw is both entertaining and endearing on these self-deprecating Soho stories.
more >>
The Times
Sophisticated story-songs penned by Shaw.
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The Guardian
3 Stars
Shaw's mix of haunting falsettos, jazzy agility and conviction is as classy as ever.
more >>
Yorkshire Post
This is a top-drawer contemporary jazz vocal CD.
more >>
Jazzwise
4 Stars
A sophisticated array of songs, mixing lyrics of wit with melodies that match.
more >>
The Times
easily one of the best vocal efforts of the past 12 months
more >>

Gill Manly and Ian Shaw live at the Purcell Room - April 2010


28 April 2010
Sarah Ellen Hughes

A dark stage. A shuffle from behind the curtain. The sound of mobile phones being desperately silenced. And then the moment of truth- the stage lights rising to reveal Ian Shaw seated at the piano, launching into his first medley of songs.

Then, in a mellow tone, Ian introduces us to Gill Manly - or "Gilly", as he affectionately calls her. She is a vision in blue, cheekily coordinating the red-rimmed glasses, matching lipstick and pendant, and an outrageous ring that would probably be visible from the other side of the Thames.

Both Ian and Gill are born entertainers, and are similar both in their vocal range and their style. They delivered a show that was hilarious and heart-breaking; engaging and intriguing. Ian's mouth-trumpet - complete with wah mute - was accompanied by his left hand. Gill's voice rang around the walls, her microphone moving with her as if it were another limb.

All too often, I hear singers who simply haven't given enough thought to their own interpretation of a song, or how they might wrap their own strengths around the song . For me, this isn't jazz, and it isn't interesting. So thank goodness for Gill and Ian! Gill isn't restricted by lyrics. She conveys their message by selecting the right balance of extra lyrics/syllables to create a flowing melodic line, while remaining true to the harmony and meaning of the song. Ian's vocals are fearless, and his connection with the piano means that he can take a song to a new level every 8 bars.

Gill's gutsy and poignant version of "Little Girl Blue" is exactly how I think Rodgers and Hart would have imagined it being sung, but couldn't write in on the lead-sheet. "A Song For You" was the vest version I've heard.

Then something magical happened. Ian Shaw unleashed his raw, aching voice for an emotional "Everything Must Change." I defy anyone to listen to this man without a lump in the throat. It was so deeply satisfying; I wanted to hear it again and again. Utterly gripping. Something connected in that song - it happened to Ian and it spread through the audience, pricking up hairs and welling up eyes.

For me, while the show was slick and incredibly entertaining, I wanted to hear more of the two singers together. They took turns to sing songs, and didn't interact a lot with each other's voices, which I found left a slightly disjointed feeling. A glorious "Heaven help us all" with spine-tingling harmonies satisfied my desire for the duet. I would have liked to have heard more like that.

Overall it was a terrific show. Their rapport couldn't be faulted. The delivery was charming, the vocals outstanding. And the relentless applause which brought them back to the stage three times said it all.


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Gill ManlyGill Manly
Ian ShawIan Shaw
LifejacketLifejacket
With a Song in My HeartWith a Song in My Heart