Sheila Jordan at the Falcon 91st birthday celebration Marlboro, NY 11/17/2019

Sheila Jordan has been an active performer since the 1940s and first appeared on the NY Jazz scene in 1951 and is considered a pioneer of jazz bebop vocals. She is a longtime devotee of Charlie Parker (Bird) would sit in with him, make up lyrics on the spot and actually was married at one time to his piano player, Duke Jordan. Bird called her “the singer with the golden ears”.

She displayed her mastery of the art form accompanied by Alan Broadbent on piano and Harvie S on bass.

The spare accompaniment allows her almost complete freedom to be expressive and change directions on a dimes with these two maestros accompanying her.

Opening with “Better than Anything” a song most recently associated with the late Al Jarreau, she followed with a varied list of tunes many familiar with the jazz bebop repertoire:

  • Abbey Lincoln’s “Bird Alone”
  • “Falling in Love with Love”
  • “Dat Dere”- Sung in a child’s manner expressing a toddler’s many questions and wants
  • “Slow Boat to China”
  • “Autumn in NY”

Alan and Harvey were given room to stretch on many occasions and they showcased Alan’s “Clifford Notes” a tune inspired by jazz trumpet legend Clifford Brown.

Long time friend, Avant-garde vocalist, Jay Clayton sat in with Sheila scatting with her “Good Morning Blues” followed by “Workshop Blues”, two original compositions.

The evening closed with “Bird”, a tribute to Sheila’s legendary mentor and the musician that started her long deep journey into the world of bebop and jazz improvisation

“How many jazz singers turn 91 and are still doing it?” quipped Sheila with a big smile. Well, she still is and those in the audience were glad she still is. 

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