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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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.
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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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The Guardian
3 Stars
Shaw's mix of haunting falsettos, jazzy agility and conviction is as classy as ever.
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Yorkshire Post
This is a top-drawer contemporary jazz vocal CD.
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Jazzwise
4 Stars
A sophisticated array of songs, mixing lyrics of wit with melodies that match.
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Ian Shaw - Lifejacket - Vortex Website


13 May 2008
The Vortex Website
Chris Parker

A lifejacket saves you from drowning, and thus provides a useful defining metaphor for Ian Shaw's first album comprised (almost) solely of self-penned material. Like his great inspiration Joni Mitchell (whose songs Shaw interpreted on his previous Linn album, "Drawn to All Things"), Shaw has a gift for rendering the deeply personal accessible via lyrics that somehow contrive to combine the colloquial with the unassumingly poetic, and on song after song on this compellingly listenable album, he explores the poignancy and emotional nooks and crannies of life. From the sparkily amusing (but with a sting in its tail) opener, Love at First Tequila and the hard-won insights of the title-track, through the appropriately straightforward heartfelt tribute to his late father (A Good and Simple Man), to the Mitchellesque self-examination of Glue ('I love when I'm loved, but I carry the torch for any old dope who loves me more') and Forty-Two ('I've tried to save face, I've settled some scores, I've tried to show grace, I've cried on all fours'), Shaw demonstrates a gift for writing intimate, penetrating songs that, while charting his own progress into maturity, contain sufficient universal applicability to absolve them utterly from the so-called 'confessional' songwriter's besetting sin, self-indulgence. Centred on the close musical rapport Shaw has with co-writer/guitarist David Preston (with whom Vortex regulars will be familiar from the duo's regular appearances at the club), the album's music ranges from outright jazziness (daring intervallic leaps and semi-scatted passages) through lightly funky to classy acoustic-folk-influenced material, and takes in cogent contributions from the likes of Julian Siegel (adventurous tenor, soprano and bass clarinet) and Guy Barker (elegant but sassy trumpet), to mention but two, along the way; all in all, though, 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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