There's a lot to be said for experience. That may be especially true for singers. The knowledge of how to get inside a song and really convey the meaning of a lyric isn't something most younger singers, even those with pretty voices (and faces) can do with the skill of a seasoned performer like Sheila Jordan, who celebrated her 75th birthday with a fine new release, Little Song, and a grand two-night stand last month at the Jazz Standard with Steve Kuhn's trio.
Jordan's voice itself is limited, even fragile at times, but she knows how to make each song her own by playing with melody, phrasing and tempo. And while decades of struggle in the jazz trenches have lent a wisdom and authority to her singing, she's retained a playfulness and sassiness that's hard to resist. Listen, for example, as she purrs and flirts her way through chestnuts like "Hello Young Lovers," "Autumn in New York," and "When I Grow Too Old to Dream." More than just a standards singer, Jordan's also an accomplished improviser, as she proves on Charlie Parker's "Barbados" and the pair of Native American chants that open and close the set.
With sympathetic backing from Kuhn's fine trio and special guest Tom Harrell on trumpet and flugelhorn, Sheila Jordan shows that jazz, like so many other things, only improves with age.
Track Listing: Little Song/Blackbird; Autumn in New York; Barbados; On a Slow Boat to China; Hello, Young Lovers; Fairweather; Something's Gotta Give; If I Should Lose You; The Way He Captured Me; Deep Tango; The Touch of Your Lips; When I Grow Too Old to Dream; Little Song.
Personnel: Sheila Jordan: vocals; Steve Kuhn: piano; Billy Drummond: drums; David Finck: bass;
Tom Harrell: trumpet, flugelhorn.
Title: Little Song
| Year Released: 2003
| Record Label: Blue Note
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.