Interview with Producer Todd Barkan


Notes from producer Todd Barkan on the recording of Ian Shaw's album A World Still Turning at Avatar Studios

Pictured from left to right: Producer Todd Barkan, Ian Shaw, manager Darren Crowdy and engineer Katherine Miller.

A WORLD STILL TURNING is a real family affair, in many ways and on many levels. I first became aware of the great singer Ian Shaw about five years ago through our mutual friend, the legendary pianist / composer Cedar Walton, for whom Ian Shaw had worked as an opening act on several occasions at London's premier jazz club, Ronnie Scott's. As we all should know, Cedar has the highest possible standards of musical excellence, and he called me up one day to mention that "there was this fantastic jazz singer in London" with whom he "was very interested in recording at some time in the near future." After listening to a few of Ian's more recent recordings, I was quite surprised to hear not only one of the best jazz singers that I had ever heard in my life, but also a musical artist of great depth and stylistic breadth. Within a year after the nod from Lord Walton, I produced our first recording together, IN A NEW YORK MINUTE, featuring both Ian Shaw and Cedar Walton, for Milestone Records. Two years later, we recorded our second album, SOHO STORIES, which featured pianist James Pearson, trumpeter Lew Soloff, guitarist Joe Beck, among others. Both these two first Milestone recordings were critically acclaimed and featured quite a few standards from the Great American songbook.

Other Fun Facts about Ian Shaw

Review: The Los Angeles Times said "with or without competition the qualities of Shaw’s singing are first rate"

Collaborators: Claire Martin, Guy Barker, Mari Wilson, Ruby Turner, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Iain Ballamy, Mornington Lockett, Sarah Jane Morris, Tim Whitehead, Carol Grimes, Lol Coxhill, Phil Minton and Veryan Weston, Elton Dean, Fayaaz Virjii and Tony Remy (Jazz Warriors), Gail Thompson, Cleo Lain, John Dankworth, Cedar Walton, Joe Lovano, Joe Beck, Papa Vasquez, Lew Soloff, David Williams, Judi Silvano, Geoffrey Williams, Bobby Hutcherson and Ray Brown.

Stage Work: In 2002 Shaw performed in "Jerry Springer, the Opera", by Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee. Thomas created the part of the warm-up man/devil for Shaw.

Ian Shaw's Top 5 Records:

  1. Some Time Ago • Mark Murphy (High Note)
    A recent recording capturing Mark at his peak, emotionally... so much truth and pain in "Why Was I Born/I'm A Fool To Want You."
  2. Sassy At Ronnie's • Sarah Vaughan (Jazz House)
    Close up live record(1977)at my favourite club in London.
  3. Portrait Of Sheila • Sheila Jordan (Blue Note)
    Unique... unmatched and beyond intimate... Sheila could almost be whispering in your ear.
  4. Shadows & Light • Joni Mitchell (Elektra/Asylum)
    Live with Jaco Pastorius, Pat Metheny, Don Alias, Lyle Mays, Michael Brecker...dream band with Joni at her most vocally playful.
  5. Frank Sinatra Sings for Only The Lonely • Frank Sinatra (Capitol)
    Darkest, most confessional record, recorded just while Ava had dumped him. "Willow Weep For Me" has an aching tone, unlike anyother of his ballad recordings.