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The Big Takeover Issue #93
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Sheila Jordan - Live at Mezzrow (Cellar Music)

27 July 2022

How many times have we seen a person in their twilight years, still doing it, whatever it is, and making us think, “Man, I hope I still have that much fire at their age.” Well, folks, please welcome Sheila Jordan to the stage. Joined by her longtime cohorts Harvie S(wartz) on bass and Alan Broadbent on piano, the 93-year old – once again, that’s the 93-year-old – joyfully sings a selection of standards and favorites, most of them long associated with her repertoire. On songs like “Look For the Silver Lining,” “Autumn in New York” or “The Touch of Your Lips,” Jordan’s voice may have a more relaxed relationship with key than she had in her prime, but it’s a voice that carries the weight of history: when she sings about Charlie Parker in “Bird & Confirmation,” she’s not just singing about a jazz giant, but a personal friend. This is a woman who was there when bebop revolutionized jazz, and recognized early on that singers could get in on the fun, too. Improvisation is as much a part of her aesthetic as hitting the notes, whether she’s making up lyrics on the fly or scatting like the long-lost sister of Ella Fitzgerald. So even if from time to time she slips into a key unfamiliar to most music teachers, Jordan still carries the weight of experience in every note, and she’s still sharp as a needle on top of that. RESPECT.