From a mid-1950's duo encounter with Charles Mingus, Sheila Jordan has retained an infatuation with the sound of the bass throughout her on-again, off-again career of almost five decades. At the time, the vocal/bass duo was an innovative concept, years before Peggy Lee recorded "Fever". Jordan's visionor rather, her aural conception-was fulfilled with a 1977 album with bassist Arild Andersen. Jordan moved on to a classic series of duo albums with Harvie Swartz. When Swartz lost interest in the concept, serendipity led to Jordan's joining with Cameron Brown at a live concert in Belgium. Whether the Flemish- or French-speaking audience understood the nuances of Jordan's wit and musical story-telling is anybody's guess. Nevertheless, the audience responded. Vociferously.
Even though Sheila Jordan's enthusiasts have heard some of the tunes on this album beforein fact, making some of the songs her ownas always, she makes each performance unique. "Dat Dere" appeared on her first album, "A Portrait Of Shiela," but Shiela portrays the tune as a dedication to the audience's children and their children-to-be. The Bird tribute, sung in duo with Mark Murphy on "One For Junior," stresses her attempts to win alimony from ex-husband Duke Jordan in a dialogue with the audience. The Belgian audience laughs. Alimony must be a European concept as well. "Mourning Song" starts with Jordan's chanting, heard so prominently on her last album, "Jazz Child," and then the tune recalls as a melancholy and wise tribute the universe of jazz musicians who have influenced her and the world at large. Performed with Swartz on "Songs From Within," "Mourning Song" once again features the artistry of a leading bassist masterfully to create a mood in conjunction with voice, both instruments exposed without breaks or back-up for almost an hour. On "Good Morning Heartache," Jordan's tribute to Billie Holiday, one expects to hear Kenny Barron's just-right accompaniment to drop in, as it did on "Lost And Found." Instead, Brown presents a darker and more ruminative interlude, significant in its ability to capture attention through confidence and minimal volume.
While Jordan's earlier vocal/bass albums certainly are gems awaiting discovery, none of her previous CD's have been as obvious in expressing her love of the bass. "It's just the thought of you, the very thought of you, my bass, my love." Or: "I've grown accustomed to the bass. it almost makes my day begin. I've grown accustomed to the sound. I love it pound for pound. The highs. The lows. The strings. The bows."
Track Listing: Introductory Remarks; The Very Thought of You; Better Than Anything; Dat Dere; Mourning Song; The Bird/Tribute/Embraceable You; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat; Good Morning Heartache; I Got Rhythm/Listen to Monk; Sheila's Blues; I've Grown Accustomed to the Bass.
Personnel: Sheila Jordan: vocals; Cameron Brown: bass.
| Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream