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.
more >>
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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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.
more >>

Ian Shaw - Lifejacket - The Guardian


11 April 2008
The Guardian
John Fordham
3 Stars

Jazz singers have to do a lot more than sing jazzy songs to slip past the ruthless scrutiny of the cognoscenti, who are generally averse to vocals. But the UK's Ian Shaw - a profoundly sophisticated artist with a broad grasp of music's mechanics, as well as an affecting, emotional and sometimes very funny singer - never has trouble with the hardliners. Here, this gifted maverick has taken a different kind of risk, in making his life's passage "from young man to middle-aged child" the central thread of this album of originals composed with writer David Preston, and featuring fellow vocalist Liane Carroll, saxophonist Julian Siegel and cellist Gabriella Swallow.

The songs are autobiographical, full of details, and Shaw's mischievousness and sense of irony have been somewhat overawed by the responsibility of personal confession. The playing is immaculate, particularly from a sympathetic Guy Barker on trumpet. Shaw's mix of haunting falsettos, jazzy agility and conviction is as classy as ever, and the building intensity of the duet with Carroll and Shaw's lament on the real costs of war are the standouts.

However, it's the single non-original track, Rozz Williams' Flowers, that shows how much shared meaning can be revealed by a more ambiguous approach to the imagery of lyrics.

 


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