All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

349

Sheila Jordan: Confirmation

By

Sign in to view read count
Sheila Jordan has the purity of heart of a child expressed through adult experience. When she dedicates this 1975 recording (originally on the Japanese East Wind label) to children of all ages, it is real.

Confirmation has songs written by Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday (her two greatest influences) nestled alongside offerings from American popular song (Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Jerome Kern, Frank Loesser, Arthur Dietz, and Richard Schwartz)—as well as pianist Steve Kuhn ("Pearlie's Swine, aka "The Zoo ) and something unexpected from Dr. Seuss ("Because We're Kids ). In lesser hands such a mélange of songs might be just a gimmick, but Jordan crafts her projects with care.

She possesses the uncanny ability to simultaneously explore the changes and tell a story. Parker praised her "million-dollar ears." Listen to "God Bless the Child, a masterpiece—second only to Holiday's original 1941 recording. Realizing that this is not a gospel song, but, rather, a plaintive jazz ballad of independence informed by pain, Jordan carries the sting on soaring, held tones that descend into smoky, melismatic phrases. Would-be "American Idols" could learn something about how to bend notes with restraint by listening to Jordan.

She honors Parker with "Confirmation, easily handling the light-hearted bebop lyrics written by her high school friend Skeeter Spight as she hones in on Bird's intricate melodic line and demanding harmonies. When she scats, she sounds like no one else, blowing a solo that is a marvel of concision.

In the ballad medley, she introduces another masterful performance with an up-tempo "By Myself," accompanied by Beaver Harris' intrepid drumming. This high-flying opening gives way to Kern's rueful "Why Was I Born. Here the lessons learned from Holiday become even more apparent. Although she sounds nothing like Lady Day, her willingness to go to the emotional ends of a song reveals a strong connection.

Every song on Confirmation defines the Sheila Jordan experience. To call this singer/musician merely a treasure or merely a great singer is insufficient to describe her enormous talent.

Track Listing: Introduction; God Bless the Child; My Favorite Things; Inch Worm; Because We're Kids; Confirmation; By Myself; Why Was I Born; Pearlie's Swine.

Personnel: Sheila Jordan: vocals; Norman Marnell: tenor saxophone; Alan Pasqua: piano; Cameron Brown: bass; Beaver Harris: drums.

Title: Confirmation | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Test of Time Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Murals CD/LP/Track Review
Murals
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Cosmic Language CD/LP/Track Review
Cosmic Language
by Chris May
Published: May 20, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley CD/LP/Track Review
Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Earth CD/LP/Track Review
Earth
by Chris May
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Vegir CD/LP/Track Review
Vegir
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 19, 2018
Read "Nighthawks" CD/LP/Track Review Nighthawks
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: December 2, 2017
Read "#Office for the Day" CD/LP/Track Review #Office for the Day
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: December 1, 2017
Read "Friendly Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Friendly Ghosts
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren" CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Qitara" CD/LP/Track Review Qitara
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "One of a Kind" CD/LP/Track Review One of a Kind
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 3, 2017