Tickets sold our in record time for Barb Jungr's Blue Hours guest last Friday - Ian Shaw, reckoned by many to be the best jazz vocalist in the country. Their show was New York Stories, the collection of songs they presented at London 's Pizza in the Park in January to celebrate the soul of the city that, so the song says, "never sleeps." It worked quite beautifully. The choice of material, from the schmaltz of Paul Simon's Feelin' Groovy through to Janis Ian's bitter-sweet sketch of a transvestite prostitute, Ruby via Joni Mitchell, Carole King and a fair helping of Lieber and Stoller captured the sky-scrapered streets in all their moods.
Vocally, the pair matched seamlessly. Shaw has a fabulous voice, with a falsetto that he slips into quite effortlessly and a lower register that's clear and melodic. He took Jungr with him on jazzier forays off-piste but she didn't lose her instinct for nailing the lyric. In the Lou Reed section, for example, she ditched Reed's death-bed growl on Walk on the Wildside and sang it as a vamp's enticement. The duo's harmonising on Perfect Day was simply the highlight of the night.
The show loosened up as it went on, the pair taking more risks and bantering, sometimes mid-song: their splicing of I'm a Woman with Shaw's I'm a gay best friend was hilarious. This was by no means a showpiece performance - there were too many rough edges for that. But as the two friends danced off stage, arm in arm, microphones abandoned, to Stormy Weather, we all knew we'd caught a performance to tell our great grandkids about.