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Sheila Jordan / Harvie S: Yesterdays

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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With Yesterdays, singer Sheila Jordan yet again proves she can take a worn-to-a-sow's-ear standard and—voila!—turn it into a diamond-encrusted silk purse. Her partners in that magic are Harvie S and his beautifully resonating double bass—both assisting ever so deftly in the creative conversion.

Offering previously unreleased material from a 1990 live performance, Jordan and S grab onto more than a dozen Great American Songbook warhorses, proving (among other things) that there are additional treasures hidden in these regularly-explored goldmines. The differences in this duo's renditions come from the rare talents of explorers Jordan and S; when these are combined, old gold seems brilliantly new.

Much has been written—and deservedly so—about Jordan and her incredible bop-tinged vocal instrument. Here, with the finesse and balletic skill of a Cirque du Soleil gymnast ("Better Than Anything," "You Don't Know What Love Is"), she embraces her melodies superbly and still provides constant surprises. That's a musical instrument at work. That expected next note or ensuing phrase gets surprising embellishment—register or dynamic alteration. Only the greatest jazz artists—saxophonist Charlie Parker being an example (and a major influence on a young Jordan), along with vocalists Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan—were also blessed with that skill.

Jordan has frequently stated her love of the bass and the freedom it provides as a musical partner. The profundity of its sound, and its rhythmic/harmonic drive, become a launch platform for her escapades above. It is as if Jordan embraces S' bass sound in the same manner that the bassist caresses his instrument.

Yesterdays is indeed a silk purse—one encrusted with the musical jewels that these two musicians have gathered.

Track Listing: Yesterdays; Better Than Anything; The Very Thought of You; You Don't Know What Love Is; Fats Waller Medley: Honeysuckle Rose/Ain't Misbehavin'; Mood Indigo; Waltz for Debby (Lazy Day); I Concentrate on You; Lazy Afternoon; Blue Skies; Fred Astaire Medley: Let's Face the Music and Dance/Cheek to Cheek/I Could Have Danced All Night.

Personnel: Sheila Jordan: vocals; Harvie S: bass.

Title: Yesterdays | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: HighNote Records

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