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Bebop Spoken There

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13,530 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 948 of them this year alone and, so far, 112 this month (July 31).

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Ian Shaw, Iain Ballamy & Jamie Safir @ Seven Arts, Leeds - May 27.

(Collage by Lance)
Ian Shaw (vocals); Iain Ballamy (tenor sax); Jamie Safir (piano).

A delightful gem that never allowed my my mind to wander, instead it tended to wonder! The sound of surprise was a constant which is the way all good art should be and this was an exercise in musical artistry.

Ballamy and Safir doodled around in a slightly free format offering tantalisingly fleeting glimpses of a tune that wasn't totally revealed until Shaw emerged from the wings to burst into What's New? What's new? well this certainly was. Shaw has an amazing range that, coupled with his ability to move from ppp to fff within a single beat, makes him just about unique.

The Bacharach/David tune You'll Never Get to Heaven (if you break my heart) isn't part of your average jazz singer's repertoire but hey, who's talking about average? Dionne Warwick it certainly wasn't.

Some Other Time was given due reverence before segueing into a scat intro to I Wish I Were in Love Again followed by Last Night When we Were Young. A beautiful song with such an emotional lyric that Shaw, wisely, didn't play around with.

A pause, beers were passed around - this wasn't a bottled water band - a few gags from Shaw reminding us that, apart from being the UK's top male jazz singer he's a force to be reckoned with in the world of stand-up. Sometimes those two worlds collide! 

It Might as Well be Spring gave way to an instrumental from Ballamy and Safir - Mad About the Boy. The former has that lovely dry, Warne Marsh sound, whilst Safir is one of the best jazz pianists I've heard for some time.

Shaw returned for I Only Miss Him When I Think of Him.

They exited stage left before the relatives of Oliver Twist demanded and were rewarded with You Stepped Out of a Dream a number that Shaw dedicated to "This f...... government"!

Nice one! Lance

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