1 March 2020

Album Review: Ian Shaw/Iain Ballamy/Jamie Safir – What’s New

Ian Shaw/Iain Ballamy/Jamie Safir

What’s New

(Silent Wish SWRCD1)

A simple proposition, simply delivered – a programme of evergreen standards performed by the UK’s leading specialist in such matters, backed by his regular accompanist and, for good measure, further enriched by one of our most acclaimed tenor players. Shaw and Ballamy are very well matched: the former’s precise delivery, sure pitch and effortlessly hip phrasing are already the stuff of legend and Ballamy also scores highly on all three counts. On You’ll Never Get To Heaven his saxophone shadows the voice so closely that you can really appreciate how their respective tones blend together – smooth but with a hint of rasp and a crisp articulation that keeps an edge to proceedings and prevents any hint of schmaltz, even on such well-known tearjerkers as Prelude To A Kiss or Alfie. It Might As Well Be Spring is taken at a faster pace that brings out the sophisticated uplift of the melody – I Wish I Were In Love Again is suitably rollicking and allows Ballamy space to show off some nifty rhythmic conceptions and his melodic Getz-ian sensitivity, which Shaw matches with his flamboyant delivery. Shaw lays out on Come Sunday and Safir and Ballamy create an enchanting duet: I’ll Only Miss Him When I Think Of Him is a suitably poignant and heartfelt closer, demonstrating Shaw’s ability to match outstanding technical execution with genuine deep emotion without letting the former obscure the latter. A perfect showcase for three outstanding talents.

Eddie Myer

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