Sheila Jordan featuring the Steve Kuhn Trio
Plenty of female singers have left their mark on jazz – for years, it was pretty much their only avenue into the music – but there is only one Sheila Jordan. At 88, she remains the die-hardiest champion of bebop on the planet – an artist who in carrying forth the spirit of her hero Charlie Parker radiates a winning combination of hipness and warmth. There’s a reason Jordan doesn’t have imitators like Ella and Billie do. With her unique phrasing, unerring sense of time and in-the-moment directness, she is inimitable.
A native of Detroit, whose rich jazz history she proudly celebrates, Jordan made a huge splash with her still-stunning 1963 Blue Note debut, Portrait of Sheila. Her performance on it of Jazz Messenger Bobby Timmons’ “Dat Dere” with bassist Steve Swallow proved to be a template for her longstanding duo with bassist Harvie S. But as she’ll demonstrate tonight with a trio led by pianist Steve Kuhn, with whom she goes back many years (search out their 1979 album, Playground), she’s in her element in any setting.
The Brooklyn-born Kuhn, who has accompanied John Coltrane, Stan Getz and Art Farmer, among other jazz legends, is widely recognized as one of the masters of the piano trio. He has enjoyed something of a resurgence in recent times with a string of transporting recordings including Mostly Coltrane and last year’s At This Time…, featuring Swallow and Joey Baron. Tonight, he’ll be accompanied by bassist David Wong and drummer Billy Drummond. Prepare for portraiture of the most exquisite sort.