Sheila Jordan

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Sheila Jordan

Another of my vocalists, and a truly delightful person.  
Wayne Grosvenor
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sheila Jordan is not only an outstanding artist but an outstanding person, with a hear as warm as the sun. I am honored to have met her. The first time I heard Sheila was in Lake George with Cameron Brown on bass; just bass and voice. They were truly amazing. Now, I try to hear both of them whenever they are close by. When she is in your area, don't miss the show.

Sheila Jordan (b. Sheila Jeanette Dawson; November 18, 1928, Detroit, Michigan)[1] is an American jazz singer and songwriter. Jordan has recorded as a session musician with an array of critically acclaimed artists in addition to a notable solo career.

Although her mainstream success has been somewhat limited, Jordan's music has earned praise from many critics, particularly for her ability to improvise entire lyrics; Scott Yanow describes her as "[o]ne of the most consistently creative of all jazz singers."[2]

Early career

Sheila Jordan grew up in Summerhill, Pennsylvania before returning to her birthplace in Detroit in 1940 playing the piano and singing semi-professionally in jazz clubs. She was influenced by Charlie Parker and was part of a trio called Skeeter, Mitch and Jean (she was Jean), which composed lyrics to Parker's arrangements. Sheila also claimed in her song "Sheila's Blues" that Charlie Parker wrote the song, "Chasin' the Bird" for her, as she and her friends were known to chase him around the jazz clubs in the 1940s.[citation needed]

In 1951, she moved to New York and started studying harmony and music theory, taught by Lennie Tristano and Charles Mingus. From 1952 to 1962 she was married to Charlie Parker's pianist, Duke Jordan.


In the early 1960s, she had gigs and sessions in the Page Three Club in Greenwich Village, where she was performing with pianist Herbie Nichols,[3] and was working in different clubs and bars in New York.

In 1962, she was discovered by George Russell with whom she recorded the song, "You Are My Sunshine" on his album The Outer View (Riverside). Later that year she recorded her Portrait of Sheila album (recorded on September 19 and October 12, 1962) which was sold to Blue Note.[4]

Over the next decade,[clarification needed] Jordan withdrew from music to raise her daughter. She supported herself by working as a legal secretary.

Later in the decade, she sang jazz-inflected liturgies in different churches such as Cornell and Princeton, NYC.[clarification needed] Jordan played with Don Heckman (1967–68), Lee Konitz (1972), Roswell Rudd (1972–75) and began her long working relationship with Steve Kuhn around this time.