Ian Shaw: A Bit of a Mouthful
Comic jazz set about modern woes that could benefit from a little more substance
This article is from 2012.
Celebrated jazz pianist, singer, producer and comedian (take your pick) Ian Shaw doesn’t have to prove anything. His work with renowned vocalists, artists and studios has earned him the right to step back a little. But in this breezy show, Shaw blandly tackles his own introspection, confronting middle-age while exhibiting an impressive musical prowess.
This show is mainly for people who know Shaw already. There is nothing to dazzle or attract new spectators, only a collection of daft singalongs and intricate ditties. The tunes are performed with technical virtuosity, occasionally improvised and seamlessly linked. It’s a playlist filled with heartache and wistfulness, longing for the days of 49p records in Woolworths and ridiculing contemporary life.
This is something the show should focus on, as the hurt in Shaw’s lyrics is trivialised by jokes and parodies. Clearly, he doesn’t want to project anything too serious, but there is a natural depth to Shaw’s music which is richly sonorous. If he angled his routine this way, it would have far more substance.
The Stand III & IV, 558 7272, until 26 Aug, 10.35pm, £10.