Ian Shaw - 606 Club, Sunday 18 Nov - London Jazz Festival

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Delightfully subversive, Welsh-born jazz vocalist, lyricist, pianist, and producer Ian Shaw ignores all disciplines but one: Music.  Profusely chitchatting with a friend behind my back, after the 606 Club’s traditional request for silence, his loud presence quickly stood out of the hushed audience. Insolently comfortable, the 2007 BBC Jazz Awards winner for Best Vocalist only interrupted himself to navigate his way through to the stage.  Ian Shaw - 606 Club, Sunday 18 Nov - London Jazz Festival
Shaw’s first set broke the silence of appearances. Accompanied by gifted, young, electric guitarist David Preston, whose style pleasantly recalls Tuck Andrews’, the voluble scatter immediately unleashed his velvety, brassy, versatile voice. From the soul-rooted ‘Glue’, a humorous male version of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Ain’t never loved a man’, and the disarming ‘Pamela’, an Elvis-Costello-tinged ballad about resilience, to the brilliant ‘Talk to me’, a Joni Mitchell cover from his latest album, Drawn to All Things, the love warrior delivered kindness behind his cynical armour. Fully mastering self-ridicule, as a former stand-up comedian, the syncopated ‘She’s loaded’, written for his 40-something girlfriends, concluded, “I wanna be loaded too”.

Liane Caroll’s name almost overshadowed the second set. Despite Shaw’s high hopes, the multi-talented, award-winning, vocalist never showed up; he eventually sang his overly fashionable friend’s part in ‘Stay 42’, a ballad composed for her. Fortunately, his gossipy character saved the night as he landed a bitchy Victoria-Beckam-themed ranting duo with pianist, vocalist Judith Owen. After blurting out that Posh, who he wished well, represented everything he hated, Shaw welcomed inspiring, young vocalist, songwriter Melody Gardot, who proved to combine serenity, organic talent, and a rare ability to create mood. After joining Shaw, whose “master plan is to be like [his father] in everything [he] can, a good and simple man”, the venue’s owner, flutist Steve Ruby, ultimately switched off the lights on the master’s excellence to defy silence.

Aurore Mary