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MARCH 21 &22
The Willard Hotel’s Nest Lounge, which successfully launched English jazz singer Claire Martin in the U.S., introduces us to her gifted countryman (and occasional vocal partner) Ian Shaw. Raised in North Wales, Shaw began his career as a coronetist, then switched to singing after moving to London to study music at King’s College. Following stints in the choruses of Chess and Cats, he attracted an avid following in London jazz clubs. Time Out dubbed him “the vocal find of the decade,” and his five CDs—two of which, Ghost Songs and Taking It to Hart, are presently available in this country—secured his position as Britain’s leading male jazz singer. A dynamic performer and daring, resourceful improviser, Shaw assembles his repertoire from a variety of sources—standards, soul, contemporary pop, and R&B and jazz compositions. As a result, his work is difficult to categorize; he describes his style as “not necessarily that of a jazz singer, more that of someone who sings with soul and uses jazz phrasing.” However you choose to pigeonhole him, he’s a world-class vocalist. Last month, he made his U.S. debut in Los Angeles to a chorus of critical acclaim. This week, Washington audiences will receive their first exposure to the voice of this remarkable artist. At 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. at the Willard Hotel’s Nest Lounge, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. $14. (202) 628-9100. (Joel E. Siegel)