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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sheila Jordan - Gateshead Jazz Festival

Sheila Jordan (vcl). The Brian Kellock Trio. Brian Kellock (pno), Kenny Ellis (bs), Stu Richie (dms). Cleveland Watkiss (guest vocalist). ----- (photo from MySpace) An hour of late night magic in the intimate setting of the Jazz Lounge by one of the music's true originals. There is no one quite like her, Sheila Jordan is totally unique and so obviously committed to the sounds we love. Jazz, bebop, yellow cabs, uptown, downtown, Birdland; jazz and New York run through her veins then ooze out by way of her heart and soul taking us with her to 52nd St in the 'forties, 'fifties and beyond.
Belying her age Sheila treat us to a mixture of standards and jazz classics; personalised by the hippest singer in the business - I don't think Anita O'Day or even Blossom Dearie was quite as cool as this octogenarian.
The oneliners that found their way into the lyrics were something else - "How should I know how deep is the ocean? I can't swim!".
Her own verse to "My Funny Valentine" paid tribute to the Miles Davis recording whilst others involved Coltrane and Charlie Parker idolatory.
Cleveland Watkiss joined our lady for "Confirmation" and the scatted exchanges were aces high. This was one for the all-time short list
The Brian Kellock trio were in top form - what is it about jazz and the Scots? The pianist's variations on "When Your Smiling" brought tears to my eyes (sorry about that one!)
This has been a great festival and there's Joshua Redman still to come - roll on tomorrow night.
Lance.

4 comments :

Anonymous said...

The rendition of 'When you're smiling' was incredible. To play something so slowly, with so much emotion, and to still make it groove is as Roly might say, a bit special. Even more so as I played the same song hundreds of times over Christmas in the Panto I was doing, and I never thought I'd want to hear it again! Sheila Jordan was innately charming and original.

I can't wait for Joshua Redman...

Anonymous said...

Spot on review Lance. What an absolute delight from start to finish. I first 'discovered' Sheila in searching out Barry Galbraith recordings - he plays on 'Portrait of Sheila' CD on Blue Note, recorded 1962. Also a very young Steve Swallow on double bass and Denzil Best(Move) on drums. Fell in love with her singing then and her whole approach to the music. She is a wonderful jazz ambassador. Great trio too - Kellock is a very special player.
Roly

cptfinch said...

After seeing Sheila in the afternoon at the Voice in Jazz concert - I decided to miss the Final Terror gig to hear her again. It was an absolute pleasure both times. They were the highlights of the festival for me. Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

I bought the CD roly and it is everything you said it was.
"Am I Blue?", "Hum Drum Blues" which of course she opened up with and the incredible "Baltimore Oriole". Sheila singing a Hoagy song is about as good as it gets - particularly with your man Galbraith on guitar.

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