Album Review: Greek Street Friday

The Scotsman

Jim Gilchrist, 8th September

Jazz singer and songwriter Ian Shaw is in characterful form in this collection informed by people, places and music encountered over the years. “Welcome to my show,” he sings in the funky, scene-setting People Who Go Ta-dah! and he means it. Mining reminiscence, regretful or otherwise – Greek Street Friday for instance, Shaw's shape-shifting voice mixes urgency, vulnerability and always humanity, as in the tenderness of To Be Held. With a band including pianist Jamie Safir, bassist Conor Chaplin and drummer Ian Thomas, there's wry, old-timer's warmth in Shaw's Years dialogue with guest vocalist Matt Kent, while a passionate account of Ricky Lee Jones's Blinded by the Hunt sees Iain Ballamy's saxophone piping sweetly alongside. Say a Prayer for Baby Blue is an unabashed rocker, while Jackie's Blues echoes characterful early-Seventies pop, with Polly Gibbons delivering a background keening worthy of Dark Side of the Moon.