Ian Shaw, Greek Street Friday, Silent Wish ****

A bit of a treat here for fans of Ian Shaw with one of the great jazz singer's most intimate albums to date tilting towards a singer-songwriter seam in these 11 autobiographical portraits of people and places as the album is described spanning …

Published: 31 Aug 2023. Updated: 7 months.

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A bit of a treat here for fans of Ian Shaw with one of the great jazz singer's most intimate albums to date tilting towards a singer-songwriter seam in these 11 autobiographical portraits of people and places as the album is described spanning 1980s London, New York, ''loving and losing, basement bars, poets, friendships, lovers, near-escapes and far-away places''. With some of Shaw's finest melodic excursions and a bittersweet tristesse never far away, Greek Street Friday is less about retro classic ballads or bebop and more about exploring a wider classic singer-songwriter inspired consciousness. The album includes Shaw and Jamie Safir co-writes and a cover of Rickie Lee Jones' ‘Blinded By The Hunt’. With Ian Thomas on drums and David Preston on guitar, Iain Ballamy on sax continues a strong association down the years with Shaw following on from What's New. Shaw never stands still and continues to challenge himself. And Greek Street Friday launched tonight at Ronnie Scott's is certainly a new career landmark.

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Harold López-Nussa, Timba a la Americana, Blue Note ****

Now signed to Blue Note, France based Cuban pianist Harold López-Nussa's profile has never been higher with this Michael League produced release featuring the pianist's own very contemporary sounding compositions and a band who include harmonica …

Published: 30 Aug 2023. Updated: 7 months.

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Now signed to Blue Note, France based Cuban pianist Harold López-Nussa's profile has never been higher with this Michael League produced release featuring the pianist's own very contemporary sounding compositions and a band who include harmonica wiz Grégoire Maret, bassist Luques Curtis, conguero Bárbaro “Machito” Crespo and Harold’s brother Ruy Adrián López-Nussa on drums. Timba sees a departure in López-Nussa's use of electric instruments and synthesizers and the whole thing sparkles with a vibrant rumba danceable feel. His playing joy got me thinking of the exuberance of Monty Alexander a bit and certainly like Monty there is plenty of spirit factored in everywhere you look. The heat is on.