In the astute company of bassist Peter Ind, guitarist David Preston, drummer Gene Calderazzo, pianist Phil Ware, trumpeter Miguel Gorodi and saxophonist Zhenya Strigalev, Shaw sounds a little looser, a shade more adventurous. Excepting Drawn to All Things, Shaw's 2006 exploration of the Joni Mitchell songbook, these Sessions mark the first time in a long time that he's included no original compositions. Instead, he draws upon a widely eclectic landscape of covers.
Mitchell is again nodded to, with a slow-burning "Be Cool." The gentle beauty of Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" is superbly captured, as is the frustrated bounce of Stealers Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle With You." Nor does Shaw neglect Tin Pan Alley classics, adding a galvanic "Get Out of Town," a spicily staccato "The Lady's in Love With You" and a sweeping "Stairway to the Stars." And he expands his penchant for songs about damaged relationships, expertly tracing the fractures of "Darn That Dream," "Since I Fell for You," Dori Caymmi's "Obsession" and, most profoundly, "I Get Along Without You Very Well."