Ian Shaw - The Theory of Joy album review: much more hip than naff

The Theory of Joy
    
Artist: Ian Shaw
Genre: Jazz
Label: Jazz Village

There’s a fine line between hip and naff, and Ian Shaw seems to delight in blurring it.

The singer’s first album for the Jazz Village label is a classic piano-trio- meets-singer affair, with an impressive performance from fiery young pianist Barry Green, and though at times Shaw strays perilously close to the “hep cat” clichés of yesterjazz, the quality of the singing, the authenticity of the performance, and the intelligent choice of material keep the Welshman safely on the side of the angels.

As usual with Shaw, the tunes are a mix of old and young, from Mel Tormé and Michel Legrand to Jacques Brel and Joni Mitchell. A tender reading of David Bowie's Where Are We Now was recorded long before news of the singer's death broke, but seems presciently elegiac.

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a musician, writer and director