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(Published: November 05, 2010)

Sheila Jordan is among the last great living jazz singers, extending the legacy of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Jordan's own contemporary, Betty Carter. She will be celebrating her 82nd birthday at Jazz Standard on Tuesday, November 16 and Wednesday, November 17 accompanied by long-time collaborator, pianist and ECM Recording artist Steve Kuhn. Set times are 7:30pm & 9:30pm.

About her long-standing working relationship with Steve Kuhn, Sheila says, "Working with Steve is like working with my brother. He is a great musician and has been in my life for over 40 years. We have done a lot of music together in those years, and it's always a joy to make music with him, especially on my birthday."

Winter Sunshine is Jordan's most recent recording on the Justin Time Records label, and the 21st album under her own name (in addition to dozens of guest appearances on albums by well-known jazz instrumentalists). Considering that Jordan has been a professional jazz singer for over 60 years, this is not an enormous catalog. Rather, the comparatively small number of recordings she has made testifies to the fact that over the course of her long career, Sheila Jordan never makes records gratuitously. She never does an album just for the sake of making an album, but rather, only goes into the studio (or brings recording equipment into a club), when she has something to say. Winter Sunshine is an example of the latter, taped live in front of an enthusiastic audience in Montreal, Quebec in February 2008.

Born Sheila Jeanette Dawson, on November 18, 1928 in Detroit, Michigan, Jordan was raised under the care of her grandparents in the coal mining town of Summerhill, Pennsylvania. At 14, Jordan moved back to Detroit to attend high school and live with her mother. Soon she was immersed in the motor city's burgeoning modern jazz scene, which was especially rich in great bop pianists Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris as well as guitarist Kenny Burrell. She was also singing in a trio called "Skeeter, Mitch and Jean" that adapted jazz instrumentals into vocal terms in a manner that anticipated Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross.

From the beginning, her idol and inspiration was the legendary Charlie Parker. The modern jazz mastermind worked occasionally in Detroit and frequently encouraged the young singer to sit in with him. Parker called her, "the kid with the million-dollar ears." A few years later, Sheila married Duke Jordan, then the pianist in the Charlie Parker Quintet. During that time, she also had the opportunity to study with pianist Lennie Tristano. The marriage to Jordan ended after seven years, but left Mrs. Jordan with three things: her daughter Tracy, her professional name, Sheila Jordan, and extended opportunities to sit in with Charlie Parker.

In the 60s, Jordan made her first full-length album, A Portrait Of Sheila, on Blue Note Records. Jordan began to work more regularly, both at home and abroad, around the time her daughter had grown up in the mid-'70s. Avant-garde artists such as Roswell Rudd and Carla Bley were using Sheila Jordan's vocals, and her singing began to expand. She was working overseas more than ever, which led to her second and third albums, respectively, Confirmation (1975, for the Japanese label East Wind) and Sheila (1977, Steeplechase).

In 1979, Jordan began a long-working relationship with Steve Kuhn. They co-led a valuable quartet and recorded several albums for the ECM label. Her preference to the bass and voice set led to another remarkable collaboration with bassist Cameron Brown, whom she has been performing with all over the world for more than ten years so far and they have released the live albums "I've Grown Accustomed to the Bass" and "Celebration". Entirely non-derivative, Jordan is one of only a tiny handful of jazz singers who fully deserve the appellation and for whom no other term will do.

Sheila Jordan 82nd Birthday Celebration
with special guest Steve Kuhn at Jazz Standard

Tuesday, November 16 - Wednesday, November 17
Sets at 7:30pm & 9:30pm

More Information: http://www.jazzstandard.net

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