Review: The Abbey Road Sessions

The Guardian

John Fordham, 29th July 2011


Ian Shaw's last album only featured his voice and his piano, but this one puts him in the Abbey Road Studios with a punchy group that includes fiery London post-bop saxist Zhenya Strigalev, drummer Gene Calderazzo, and veteran cool-school bassist Peter Ind. Shaw lets the band have its head from the start, as jagged sax lines wind around Miguel Gorodi's trumpet before Cole Porter's Get Out of Town cuts in. The famously Miles Davis-covered Human Nature gets a delicately wondering treatment; raspy falsettos reinvent Skylark; the soul-bluesy Since I Fell for You has a captivating closing counterpoint with the trumpet and a long, yearning high vocal payoff; and I'm Through with Love (with David Preston's guitar) shows what effective reworkings the singer can perform on Nat King Cole's sound. Shaw is cool but never calculatingly crooner-hip. Perhaps he occasionally embroiders too much for lyrics lovers, and the band might have welcomed a few more hours together, but this is a fitting document for one of the UK's most honest and musical jazz vocalists.