12 Songs, 55 Minutes


Ratings and Reviews

A Treasure


Sheila Jordan Harvie S 'Yesterdays' a treasure From the Seattle times
New CDs released Tuesday, Jan. 31, include jazz singer Sheila Jordan's splendid live duets with bassist Harvie S, "Yesterdays."
Sheila Jordan Harvie S, 'Yesterdays' (High Note)
Years ago, the incomparable but perennially underrecognized jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan made a duet album with bassist Arild Andersen, "Sheila," that is one of the treasures of my collection. High Note has now released a live recording from the early '90s of Jordan with bassist Harvie S that hits that mark again.
Jordan's high, light, mischievously supple voice and Harvie S's toffee-rich, dexterous bass achieve an orchestral completeness that never for a minute makes you feel anything is missing. Spontaneity and a sense of play are paramount. On "The Very Thought of You," Jordan improvises a recitative rebuttal, midsong, of a review that complained she didn't sing the melody last time she was in town. But that's Jordan's thing: She inhabits the architecture of a tune, then celebrates it by messing with it. On "Honeysuckle Rose," after cracking up at a surprise bass "wow," she launches into a breakneck tempo that's just crazy.
On "Lazy Afternoon," Jordan slips into Meredith Monk-like Native American mode, then closes with a version of "I Could Have Danced All Night" that ends with a capricious soprano imitation of Julie Andrews.
When it's all over, she and everyone else in the room are giggling with joy. You will, too.
Paul de Barros, Seattle Times jazz critic

About Sheila Jordan

One of the most consistently creative of all jazz singers, Sheila Jordan has a relatively small voice, but has done the maximum with her instrument. She is one of the few vocalists who can improvise logical lyrics (which often rhyme), she is a superb scat singer, and is also an emotional interpreter of ballads. Yet despite her talents, Jordan spent much of the 1960s and '70s working at a conventional day job. She studied piano when she was 11 and early on, sang vocalese in a vocal group. Jordan moved to New York in the 1950s, was married to Duke Jordan (1952-62), studied with Lennie Tristano, and worked in New York clubs. George Russell used her on an unusual recording of "You Are My Sunshine" and she became one of the few singers to lead her own Blue Note album (1962). However, it would be a decade before she appeared on records again, working with Carla Bley, Roswell Rudd, and co-leading a group with Steve Kuhn in the late '70s. Jordan recorded a memorable duet album with bassist Arild Andersen for SteepleChase in 1977, and has since teamed up with bassist Harvie Swartz on many occasions. By the 1980s, Sheila Jordan was finally performing jazz on a full-time basis and gaining the recognition she deserved 20 years earlier. She recorded as a leader (in addition to the Blue Note session) for East Wind, Grapevine, SteepleChase, Palo Alto, Blackhawk, and Muse, resurfacing in 1999 with Jazz Child. ~ Scott Yanow

Detroit, MI
November 18, 1928



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