Jack Sheldon: Still Going Strong
Sinatra was one of the few who could suppress the irrepressible Sheldon. "Frank wasn't easy to get to know," Sheldon says. "He surrounded himself with friends and bodyguards. But I remember I was "allowed" to sit at his table one time at a party for Natalie Wood at the old Romanoff Club. I didn't contribute much to the conversation, though, with Frank's steely eyes on me." Permission to speak was not granted.
It seems that Southern California cool is in nowadays. A critically acclaimed art exhibit, Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design and Culture at Midcentury, is currently touring the country after opening in Southern California at the Newport Harbor Art Museum. As well as the art, furniture and architecture on display, there is a section dedicated to jazz memorabilia which includes photos by William Claxton, with one featuring a handsome young Sheldon.
At his April appearance in Orange County, he will perform with his California Cool Quartet, a group he started in 1998 with his current lineup of pianist Joe Bagg, bassist Jennifer Leitham and drummer Dick Weller. Besides the jazz, there will be lots of laughs. And, as always, Sheldon is sure to sing a couple of songs.
An average day for Sheldon at his home near Universal City has him spending three or four hours practicing his horn and vocals. Then, most evenings, he gets ready to play with the quartet at one of his several regular gigsCharlie O's in Van Nuys, Jax in Glendale, Cafe 322 in Sierra Madre and the Westin LAX hotel. "I'm having a great time," he says. "Just learning and playing."
Jack Sheldon/The California Cool Quintet, It's What I Do (Butterfly Records, 2008)
Jack Sheldon Quintet, Sunday Afternoons at The Lighthouse Caf (Woofy Productions, 2006)
Jack Sheldon/The California Cool Quintet, California Cool (Butterfly Records, 2004)
Jack Sheldon, Class Act (Jadi, 1998)
Courtesy of Jack Sheldon