Album Review: Shine Sister Shine

Lesley Mitchell-Clarke,

May 2018

Consummate jazz vocalist and pianist Ian Shaw first emerged onto the international jazz scene after his warm and agile voice was heard on the soundtrack of Richard Curtis’ hit film, Four Weddings and a Funeral. Since his auspicious debut, the Welsh-born and London-based Shaw has created some of the most intriguing jazz vocal recordings in recent memory – and his latest offering is no exception. In his own words, Shine Sister Shine is a “celebration of the actions and art of extraordinary women.”

Shaw &ndash: who arranged the CD and is joined by his fine trio of Barry Green on piano, Mick Hutton on bass and David Ohm on drums – is also an activist, focused on working with refugees. He contributes two original compositions here, Keep Walking (dedicated to a brave Eritrean mother) and Carry On World, written in praise of women and their steely strength. The other fine tracks on the CD include Shaw’s innovative interpretations of compositions by Peggy Lee, Joni Mitchell, Phoebe Snow and Carly Simon.

Things get cooking with Carry On World (Starring Everyone), which is a supple, contemporary jazz tune with luscious multi-tracked backing vocals by Shaw. Shaw’s pitch-perfect baritone is recognizably his, while still manifesting nuances of iconic jazz vocalists such as the late Mark Murphy. On Not the Kind of Girl, Shaw demonstrates his innate and compassionate ability to communicate the deepest of human feelings. The closer, a piano/voice re-imagining of Carly Simon’s Coming Around Again, is a triumph. Without question, this is one of the finest jazz vocal recordings of the year.