All That Jazz

Motif’s jazz writer, Ben Shaw — interviewer of musicians, reviewer of albums and guy in the know — also is a jazz performer, and he dropped an album of his own last month that definitely deserves a listen.

The 5-track album was entirely written by Shaw and was influenced a range of jazz styles, from traditional to contemporary. When we asked Shaw about the album and its development, he had this to say:

“I feel constantly compelled to do all of these different types of music — classical, singer/songwriter, hip-hop — and the most difficult time I have with that is trying to find my voice within those styles. In jazz, I’ve always had a voice in my head along with an approach I’ve been going for and I really wanted to put out something that captured the sound I wanted; I want it all to come under a unified voice. I’ve always lacked confidence in my abilities as a jazz musician and for a long time felt that I was hopelessly inadequate as both a player and composer so anything I was doing wasn’t worthy of putting down on record. But as I was turning 30, I started slowly unburdening myself of some of that self-doubt and began to focus more on the joy of the craft and the making of music, rather than the assumptions I had put up as roadblocks. So I hope when people listen to the album that they’ll understand that though I’m still searching and trying to find things, in this moment in time, what you hear is the best representation of what I’m trying to do.”


The self-titled album features local musicians Nick Sanfilippo (piano), Tom Casale (bass), and Max Goldman (drums). It was recorded at Big Nice Studio in Lincoln and engineered by Bradford Krieger. Ben Shaw is available on all digital platforms.