Related Reviews

... so musically talented that hearing them verges on the sublime
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...The delivery was charming, the vocals outstanding
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StereoMojo
"Lifejacket is an intelligent and sophisticated collection of stories..."
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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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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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Observer Music Monthly
4 Stars
A reminder of what an important talent he is.
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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.
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The Times
Sophisticated story-songs penned by Shaw.
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Yorkshire Post
This is a top-drawer contemporary jazz vocal CD.
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The Guardian
3 Stars
Shaw's mix of haunting falsettos, jazzy agility and conviction is as classy as ever.
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Jazzwise
4 Stars
A sophisticated array of songs, mixing lyrics of wit with melodies that match.
more >>

Ian Shaw - Lifejacket - BBC Website


21 April 2008
BBC Website
Kathryn Shackleton

"Lifejacket" is singer Ian Shaw's first collection of self-penned songs. Its streaked with nostalgia and dreams of youth that give way to the disappointing reality of adulthood. There are old cameras, seedy bars, dealers and girls with knives and silver heels here - not to mention plenty of references to Shaw's native Wales.

Pamela is like looking through a scrapbook you made when you were ten, and makes poetry of friends with unpoetic names, while the catchy A Good And Simple Man is full of reminiscence, and is dedicated to Ian's Dad.

Ian's trumpet-playing cohort, Guy Barker, pops up on various tracks. On Letter From A Soldier there's a poignant Last Post feel to his interludes; and the jaunty Richard Rodney Bennett-like I Want to Live in Paris features Guy in a pure-toned, swinging solo.

David Preston, co-writer of many of the tracks on "Lifejacket" also features on guitar. His eerily simple backing on Glue works beautifully against Julian Siegel's ominous-sounding bass clarinet. On She's Loaded, David's guitar is light and funky and Ian's quicksilver vocals chatter like gossip, while Love At First Tequila mixes sinewy soprano sax with rapid and precise percussion. Hiraeth ('homesick' in Welsh) sounds like vocalese, and Ian's prog-folk-rock vocals meet exciting instrumental jazz on Northop Road.

One of the most poignant tracks on the album is Forty-Two, an anthemic country waltz, reminiscent of a Tom Waits song. It's a duet between Ian''s soulfulness and the enormous warm voice of Liane Carroll.

Rozz Williams' gorgeous death-song Flowers is the only cover here, and it creeps in as the full stop at the end of the collection. Ian wrings the passion out of Williams' stark lyrics, backed simply by cello and piano.

Ian Shaw's last album was a tribute to Joni Mitchell's songwriting, but with "Lifejacket" he's moved from Canada to Camden and he's laying his own life bare.
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