Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Everlasting Sheila Jordan

If you're down with the ladies of Jazz (Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday), then you've got to check out Sheila Jordan. Although I've been a fan of the before mentioned ladies for a while, I've never come across Sheila's name, although she's been performing for some 60 years now. As a matter of fact, she just celebrated her 80th birthday last November, and in conjunction with the celebration released her latest album, a live album titled Winter Sunshine, on her new label Justin Time Records.

Although 79 at the time the album was recorded (February in Montreal), Sheila's voice and lyrical ability are quite impressive. She delves into one of her influence's well known talents, Ella's scat singing, and although she plays many time honored standards, both she and her band manage to make the tunes their own, stretching them out and playing with the notes in true improvisational manner. This includes the lyrics, as Sheila adds verses and choruses of her own.

You can catch the flavor of Sheila's on the spot creationism as well as her working the crowd on the disc's opening number, the classic Comes Love. Then try out a medley which includes an original, Ballad For Miles (in honor of the Miles Davis, who she worked with back in the 50's!), intertwined with another standard, It Never Entered My Mind. This is jazz vocalism as it was meant to be: smooth, swinging, and cool.

Visit her website, her label Justin Time Records, and become her friend on MySpace.

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