Review: The Abbey Road Sessions


Peter Quinn, March 2011


Recorded live at Abbey Road's Studio 2, Ian Shaw's second release on Splash Point Records - following his 2009 solo ballads album Somewhere Towards Love - sees him don his arranging hat to dazzling effect. And what a line-up. There can't be too many jazz records that feature both a teenager (Spanish trumpet player, Miguel Gorodi) and an octogenarian (iconic bassist Peter Ind) but each and every one of Shaw's hand-picked, cross-generational sextet cover themselves in glory. While the musicians might have indulged in some nervous fingernail biting - 13 tracks in a day, margin for error: zero - Shaw himself seems to be having the time of his life. And, in this setting, why not: his voice has never sounded better and it's rarely, if ever, been captured so definitively on disc (in purely sonic terms, 'Since I Fell for You' is a standout). Whether delivering the rapid-fire English language lyrics of Dori Caymmi's sublime 'Obsession' with practised ease, deploying his extraordinary falsetto to explosive effect (check out his wail at the conclusion of 'Today I Sing the Blues') or giving unexpectedly sinister twists to songs that we thought we knew well (Cole Porter's 'Get Out Of Town'), Shaw's take-no-prisoners approach carried the day. To hear him at his swingingest, head straight for a terrific 'The Lady's In Love With You'.