Ian Shaw, a native of Wales, continues to impress with his vocal artistry. His phrasing is liquid and easeful; his vocal timbre is impressive and lush on ballads; and he has a sense of drama that serves him well-especially on his reading of "I Never Went Away," where Shaw exhibits beautiful control and a proper sense of longing in telling his story. Dig the way he slides comfortably up the register on the song's title line just preceding Eric Alexander's lovely tenor solo.
Producer Todd Barkan has surrounded Shaw with complementary players, including pianist Cedar Walton and assorted other learned voices, who expertly frame Shaw's baritone. For reference check Joe Beck's guitar shadings on the soulful "Ruby." He sings the seldom-heard chorus of "If You Could See Me Now," which is likewise given an exceptional arrangement.
Shaw is a real jazz-vocal contender.