Sheila Jordan falls into that unique category of vocalist whose voice, once heard, is unlikely to be mistaken for anyone else. Now at ninety-two, she continues to perform regularly, if not frequently, most recently in August 2021 at Jazz In The Park in Peekskill New York. This release entitled Comes Love: Lost Session 1960 was recorded on June 19, 1960 at Olmsted Sound Studios NYC for Chatam Records backed by unidentified accompanists. Ms. Jordan was thirty-one at the time of this recording but, perhaps understandably, she has no recollection of this session nor the names of the musicians supporting her. This outing pre-dates by more than two years her official debut recording for Blue Note Records entitled Portrait Of Sheila on which she was accompanied by guitarist Barry Galbraith, bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Denzil Best.
William Shakespeare in The Tempest wrote the line "what's past is prologue" and if that is so, the Sheila Jordan heard on these early sides anticipates the singer she has become. The opening track is a little-known ballad by James Shelton called "I'm The Girl" in which the following couplet tells the story : "I'm the girl he calls up at three/ And I'm the one who will go." Jordan conveys the bitterness of the lyrics without being maudlin. The following track is a brief exposition of Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean A Thing ( If It Ain't Got That Swing) which features her up-tempo scatting.
As this outing demonstrates, Jordan was prepared to tackle an eclectic choice of material from "Ballad Of The Sad Young Men" to Harold Arlen & Truman Capote's "Sleeping Bee" to Philippe Gérard & Johnny Mercer's "When The World Was Young." On the latter number, pay attention to the astonishing ending as Jordan takes the word "young" up a couple of octaves. The title track "Comes Love"is a pithy, clever romp where she stays in the middle register with the lyrics remaining intact.
At what would have to be considered the stepping off point in her recording career, Sheila Jordan had a fresh and unambiguous approach to American Songbook standards such as Oscar Hammerstein's "I'll Take Romance" and George & Ira Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away From Me." Regardless of the material, Jordan understood it was important to emphasize the melodic development of the song and, by so doing, it would be transformed as distinctive to her.
I'm the Girl; It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing; Ballad of the Sad Young Men; Comes Love; Don't Explain; Sleeping Bee; When the World Was Young; I'll Take Romance; These Foolish Things; Glad to Be Unhappy; They Can't Take That Away from Me.
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