Review: Drawn To All Things
Our fave jazz singer, Shaw's been in fine form recently. His irreverent, off-the-cuff club gigs are becoming legendary; he's become a mentor to a generation of young jazz singers; and he's an increasingly in-demand producer (working with the likes of Charlotte Church). He's recorded a series of cracking albums in the States, where he's been critically acclaimed (they know a thing or two about jazz singing over there), but he's been a bit taken for granted back home in Blighty. At last year's London Jazz Festival he shared a bill with - and easily outshone - the singer Kurt Elling, but at least one noted critic only bothered turning up for the American's set.
So you sense that tonight's launch (at the Bloomsbury UCL, London) of his first British-recorded album in a decade is important to Shaw. "Drawn to All Things" is a ballsy collection of Joni Mitchell cover versions. Mitchell has long been a fave of jazz singers, but only Shaw would have the chutzpah to record a whole album of her songs (citing her retirement from singing as his inspiration). He largely avoids the more obvious choices and - as on his brilliant, soulful take on A Case of You - he makes the songs his own without losing sight of their essential Joni-ness. With guests like Claire Martin and Guy Barker dropping in tonight, this should be some concert.