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Ian Shaw: Taking it to Hart

Thirteen of Richard Rodgers’ most glorious melodies, with bittersweet lyrics by Lorenz Hart. The songs will live long after this CD is landfill. The liner notes describe Shaw as “the best male jazz voice ever to come out of Britain.” He is blessed with strong pipes and good intonation; unfortunately, he has also mastered every pop mannerism-bathos, exaggerated dynamics, melodramatic vibrato, fake-Southern diction, swoops of pointless-tasteless Mathis falsetto, the Tom Jones vocal wink, the ain’t-we-hip scat.

The arrangements by Shaw’s long-time collaborator, pianist Adrian York, range from solo piano, a capella, big band, traditional jazz trio and occasional strings; with Tim Wells, bass, and Mark Fletcher, drums. Mornington Lockett and Iain Ballamy, tenor saxes, provide jazzy comments and swing; and Matthew Barley, cello, adds tender counterpoint. Hard to believe this was recorded at Ronnie Scott’s Club in London.

Originally Published