Related Reviews

... so musically talented that hearing them verges on the sublime
more >>

...The delivery was charming, the vocals outstanding
more >>
StereoMojo
"Lifejacket is an intelligent and sophisticated collection of stories..."
more >>
Hi-Fi i Muzyka
5 Stars
Record of the Year in the Jazz Vocal category
more >>
Hi-Fi Magazine
Album of the Year 2008!
more >>
Coda
Establishes him also as a gifted songwriter.
more >>
Atlantic Audio Society
Ian Shaw's first collection of self-penned songs, makes an indelible impression
more >>
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.
more >>
BBC Website
He's moved from Canada to Camden and he's laying his own life bare.
more >>
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
more >>
Time Out
Shaw is both entertaining and endearing on these self-deprecating Soho stories.
more >>
The Times
Sophisticated story-songs penned by Shaw.
more >>
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 >>

Ian Shaw - Lifejacket - Jazz Times


10 July 2008
Jazz Times
Christopher Louden

With several months worth of 2008 releases still to come, it would be both unwise and unfair to herald Ian Shaw's latest as the year's finest. But if "Lifejacket" doesn't end up at or very near the top of this year's jazz vocal roster, I'll eat my iPod. It's hardly a secret that the cherubic Welshman is considered the finest male jazz singer to come out of the UK since, well, possibly, forever. To date, however, exceptionally good as his albums have been, they've consistently cast Shaw in a rather heavenly mold, sounding like a novitiate faithfully serving at the altar of high art. Also, thus far Shaw has limited his repertoire to others' material, leaving the field of original storytelling wide open for Jamie Cullum to dominate.

On "Lifejacket", Shaw addresses both issues at once. Stylistically, he sounds as if he's shrugged of the surplice, abandoned his pew and trudged through the mud in search of a long night at the nearest pub. Additionally, all 13 tracks were written or co-written by Shaw, and demonstrate an ability to dissect social foibles and ills (while also plumbing the depths of one's own heart) that is fully on par with Cullum, just one generation removed. Shaw's goal, brilliantly realized, was to hold up his encroaching middle age like a prism and study all its facets.

On his previous disc, "Drawn to All Things", he saluted the songwriting genius of Joni Mitchell. Here, as he travels from the roguish urgency of Love at First Tequila and sanguine fantacizing of I Want to Live in Paris to the stripped-bare desire for self-betterment of A Good and Simple Man, the gutsy regret and vodka-fueled ache of Forty Two (which finds Shaw ideally matched with Liane Carroll) and the throw me-no-lifelines determination of the title track, he proves himself every inch Mitchell's equal.


Bookmark and Share


Related Links

Ian ShawIan Shaw
LifejacketLifejacket