Born: June 2, 1962 Primary Instrument: Vocal
“The best jazz vocalist we have” (Time Out), 2007 has been one of Ian Shaw’s most successful years. At the 2006 BBC Jazz Awards (where Shaw was nominated Best Vocalist), Shaw was invited to sing with the legendary Quincy Jones. His recent Linn album, “Drawn To All things, The Songs Of Joni Mitchell” has garnered worldwide praise and was the first successful solo artist tribute to this highly regarded songwriter. Shaw toured the album for a year, taking in the major festivals and making his debut at the prestigious Sunset Sunside Club in Paris. These shows were as a result of Shaw being nominated as Best Vocalist in the Academie du Jazz at the close of the year. In March of 2007 Shaw finally recorded the David/Bacharach Songbook with the HR Big Band following last year’s concerts in Germany with them. Shaw was also invited by labelmate, Claire Martin to compose a song remembering Shirley Horn for her new release, “He Never Mentioned Love”(Linn). The song is “Slow Time”.
After a sell-out six shows at the new Ronnie Scott’s before Christmas, Shaw and his band have been touring the spring and summer festivals. A new partnership with the Mercury nominated trumpeter, broadcaster and composer, Guy Barker, was formed. With just Shaw’s piano for accompaniment, “Barker And Shaw Go To The Movies”, a musical and highly entertaining romp through their favourite film music, has sold out all over the country. They will debut it in Toronto in January 2008, where Shaw has been invited to take part in the IAJE annual festival.
In June this year, Shaw won the coveted Best Vocalist category at the 2007 BBC Jazz Awards, having previously won in 2004. He performed a brand new arrangement by Guy Barker of Joni’s “A Case Of You”.
In September this year, he performed to a packed crowd with The Phil Ware Trio at The Dublin Festival. This was broadcast by RTE. The following week saw Shaw and his longtime musical partner, Claire Martin play six sell-out shows at New York’s Lincoln Center. WBGO called Shaw “a razor-sharp performer with faultless time and unrivalled passion”.
High Contrast, one of Europe’s most successful Drum and Bass projects invited Shaw to sing on “Everything Is Different”(Hospital Records), a new take on an old Donny Hathaway classic. The track has been a summer success and appears on “Tough Guys Don’t Dance”, the follow-up album following the single. The video can be seen on youtube.
Shaw has recorded eight more highly regarded albums (his Rodgers And Hart Collection “Taking It To Hart” was reissued in 2006, and “Double Event”, a double cd collection on JazzHouse Records is still available).
Ian’s last US release, A WORLD STILL TURNING (now distributed in the UK by The Woods), recorded at the world-famous Avatar Studios, was released on 441 records in October 2003. This recording, with Billy Childs on piano and Peter Washington on bass, also features Eric Alexander on tenor sax and Paul Bollenback on guitar. Ian was especially delighted to have Mark Murphy duet with him on one of the tracks. A WORLD STILL TURNING is Ian's third album produced by the renowned Todd Barkan. Ian has two further US recordings to his name - IN A NEW YORK MINUTE and SOHO STORIES, both on the Milestone label. On these he recorded alongside such US legends as pianist Cedar Walton, guitarist Joe Beck and trumpeter Lew Soloff. In 2001 Ian sang on SECRET ELLINGTON, an album of hidden Duke gems, along with the likes of Joe Lovano and singer Freddy Cole.
During his several visits to the States in 2003 Ian played the Lincoln Center and Joe's Pub in New York, the Birchmere in Washington and performed at the Atlanta and Rochester Festivals. In 2003 Ian was on a national tour with the world-famous Brodsky String Quartet. A CD featuring Ian alongside Sting, Elvis Costello, Björk, Paul McCartney and Jacqui Dankworth following this tour was released in March 2005 - MOODSWINGS on Brodsky Records. In 2002, Ian celebrated his 40th birthday with a national and European tour culminating in a week’s residency at Ronnie Scott’s, the venue which launched his live performance career in the early 90’s. His first solo album GHOSTSONGS, LIVE AT RONNIE SCOTT'S was described by The Wire magazine as quite simply the year’s finest release.
Shaw’s career in performance began unusually for a jazz musician on the Alternative Cabaret Circuit, alongside such performers as Julian Clary, Rory Bremer and Jo Brand. Shaw was spotted by Dave Illic, jazz critic for City Limits and was described as the voice of the decade. Shaw recorded an album with legendary English blues and rock artist Carol Grimes, LAZY BLUE EYES (Ace Records). Over the next two years Shaw moved from the singer-pianist format to working with his new band, Brave New World, co-formed with Adrian York. This band garnered a huge club and concert following playing such venues as the Hammersmith Odeon and Ronnie Scott’s.
Venturing boldly into jazz Shaw recorded a further two albums for Jazzhouse Records, TAKING IT TO HART (a tribute to Rodgers and Hart) and THE ECHO OF A SONG (an album of love songs compiled by Shaw’s mentor, Ronnie Scott). Shaw toured extensively in the UK, Europe and the States, promoting these albums. His appearances on TV in the 90’s included guesting with Jools Holland, Pebble Mill, Top of the Pops (Shaw wrote a song for the 1993 Children in Need), 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. In the summer of 2002, Carlton/HTV made a documentary about Shaw.
His collaborators over the years have included:
UK Guy Barker, Mari Wilson, Ruby Turner, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Iain Ballamy, Mornington Lockett, Sarah Jane Morris, Tim Whitehead, Carol Grimes, Barb Jungr, Lol Coxhill, Phil Minton and Veryan Weston, Elton Dean, Fayaaz Virjii and Tony Remy (Jazz Warriors), Gail Thompson and Cleo Laine and John Dankworth. US Cedar Walton, Joe Lovano, Joe Beck, Papa Vasquez, Lew Soloff, David Williams, Judi Silvano, Geoffrey Williams, Bobby Hutcherson and Ray Brown.
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 2004 Linn album TOO DARN HOT. Together they have toured the world in an intimate duo setting with Shaw playing piano or sometimes with the BBC Big Band, a band with whom, over the last ten years, Shaw has cemented a highly popular musical relationship. He has played the Harrogate International Festival with the Big Band along with concerts all over the UK including Stoke, BBC Leeds Live, to the Cork International Jazz Festival in 2002 where Shaw made his festival debut with this internationally acclaimed radio big band. Ian recently presented Big Band Special on Radio 2 which features the BBC Big Band.
His concert and festival appearances have been numerous. These include in the US venues: the Cine Grill in Hollywood, the Fairmont in Chicago, The Nest in Washington DC, Dizzy’s (Lincoln Center) and the Fez Club in New York, the Ellington Church in NYC, the Passadena auditorium in California, the Miami Film and Music Festival and the Arizona Jazz Party, to name a few. He has performed at the Hanoi Opera House and Ho Chi Minh City Opera in Vietnam. UK venues include the Royal Festival Hall, Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Blackheath Concert Halls, Ronnie Scott’s, the Vortex, the Jazz Café and the Barbican. Ian has played at most of the jazz festivals in the UK, including Brighton, Cork, Brecon, Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh (where Shaw was nominated for a Perrier Award), Grimsby, Glasgow, Cheltenham, Scarborough, Swanage and St. Ives.
In 2002 Shaw performed in Jerry Springer, the Opera, by Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee. Thomas created the part of the warm-up man/devil for Shaw.
Shaw is a regular on BBC Radios 2, 3 and 4 as well as the new international digital jazz radio station, theJazz.com, where Ian recently shared his Top 10 tracks on “My Jazz” presented by Helen Mayhewfor Jazz FM.
Shaw has guested on endless albums, including STANDARD ISSUE (Splashpoint Records - Liane Carroll - a vocal duet of You've Got a Friend) ORSINO’S SONGS (Candid Records 2002 - Clare Teal); LORD OF THE DANCE (Sydney Carter); FIRST OF A MILLION KISSES (Fairground Attraction); ZEBRA (Yello); IT’S A NICE THOUGHT (Linn Records, 2002 - Sarah Moule); GAILFORCE (Gail Thompson Big Band); SONGS FROM PRISON DIARY (Phil Minton and Veryan Weston); THE BRODSKY SONG ALBUM (Challenge Records 2003 The Brodsky String Quartet); SECRET ELLINGTON (32 Records, 2002) and TOO DARN HOT (Linn Records 2002 Claire Martin).
Shaw has become a firm favourite at major festivals in Europe: in 2004 and 2005 he has performed at Brecon, Lichfield (with NYJO), Swanage, Cork, The Chelsea Festival, Edinburgh (with Claire Martin), Southport, Scarborough, Grimsby International Festival, Cheltenham Festival and The Gateshead International Festival at the new Sage Theatre. Shaw sang at the first Plymouth International Festival which he comperes next year. In the USA, Shaw performed sell-out shows at The Birchmere, Washington, Joe’s Public Theater in New York and the Atlanta Festival, Rochester.
Shaw has become a hugely popular host and compere to a variety of events (including the historical closing party of the Royal Festival Hall now happily re-opened and a glittering Christmas party to introduce Sally Greene, the charismatic new owner of Ronnie Scott’s).
In the summer of 2005, Shaw appeared in the new Adrian Shergold (“Dirty Filthy Love”, “Christmas Lights”) directed film, “Pierrepoint”, playing Percy, alongside Tim Spall and Juliet Stevenson. The film features a song, written by Shaw.
- BBC Jazz Awards 2007 - Best Vocalist