Best Jazz Vocalist" at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2007 and 2004, Ian Shaw has already amassed a number of highly acclaimed albums and is a popular performer both in the UK and the US. An incredibly colourful character, he has been cited, along with Mark Murphy and Kurt Elling, as one of the world's finest male jazz vocalists.
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His acclaimed 2006 album "Drawn to All Things - the songs of Joni Mitchell" saw him "Praised far and wide as the single greatest male jazz vocalist Britain has to offer" by Jazz Times. This was followed in 2008 by the autobiographical collection co-penned with guitarist and composer David Preston, Lifejacket, also on Linn Records (see below for what the critics said). In the summer of 2009 Shaw recorded his long-awaited solo album, "Somewhere Towards Love" (Splash Point Records), released in early October.
Shaw's career in performance began unusually for a jazz musician on the Alternative Cabaret Circuit, alongside such performers as Julian Clary, Rory Bremner and Jo Brand. Shaw was spotted by Dave Illic, jazz critic for "City Limits" and was described as "the voice of the decade".
During the next few years Shaw moved from the singer-pianist format to working with his new band to an eventual move into jazz. Shaw has toured extensively in the UK - regular venues include the Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Blackheath Concert Halls, Ronnie Scott's, The Vortex, the Jazz Café and The Barbican. Ian has played at all of the major jazz festivals in the UK including Cork, Brecon, Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh (where he was nominated for a Perrier Award), Grimsby, Glasgow, Cheltenham, Scarborough, Swanage and St. Ives.
In Europe he has proved popular in France, Germany and Italy with numerous live appearances. He has also performed regularly in the States including Jazz at the Lincoln Center (New York), Cine Grill (Hollywood), the Fairmont (Chicago), The Nest i(Washington DC), Fez Club (New York), the Ellington Church (New York), the Pasadena Auditorium (California), the Miami Film and Music Festival and the Arizona Jazz Party. He has also performed at the Hanoi Opera House and Ho Chi Minh City Opera in Vietnam.
His appearances on TV include guest slots with Jools Holland, Top of the Pops, The Jack Dee Show, Christmas Night with the Stars (BBC), C4's The Happening, TVAM, BBC Breakfast Show, BBC 2's A Night of Love, BBC 2's Jazz at the 606 and, more recently, numerous appearances on the Performance and Artsworld channels.
Collaborators over the years have been many and include Quincy Jones, Abudullah Ibrahim, Guy Barker, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Iain Ballamy, Mornington Lockett, Barb Jungr, Cleo Laine, John Dankworth, Cedar Walton, Joe Lovano and Joe Beck. Shaw's ongoing and highly popular collaboration is a celebrated duet show with Claire Martin, the UK's finest female jazz singer - he guested on her 2002 album "Too Darn Hot!" (Linn AKD 243). Together they have toured the world in an intimate duo setting with Shaw playing piano and with the BBC Big Band. They co-hosted the 2004 BBC Jazz Awards. He recently presented Big Band Special on BBC Radio 2 which features the BBC Big Band.
Shaw is a regular on BBC Radio 2, 3 and 4 and his album "Lifejacket" cemented his reputation as a fine song-writer as well as a great jazz singer.
Here’s what the critics said of “Lifejacket”:
“if "Lifejacket" doesn't end up at or very near the top of this year's jazz vocal roster, I'll eat my iPod.” Jazz Times, USA
“a convincing album of originals . . . a reminder of what an important talent he is” **** Observer Music Monthly
“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” The Guardian
“this is a gem of a recording, and hopefully not a one-off peek at Shaw the singer-songwriter. More, please.” Jazzwise