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Sunday, April 08, 2018

GIJF Day 2: Jazz Song Masterclass with Sheila Jordan - Sage Gateshead, April 7

(Review by Ann Alex)
Sheila Jordan was introduced to us by Zoe Gilby, who was at a similar masterclass about 5 years ago, and who has been greatly influenced by what she learned then. And what an engaging, entertaining personality Ms Jordan proved to be! There were about 30 people present, mostly women, and she said that whatever we do, we should ‘keep singing’. Three brave souls had volunteered to have songs critiqued by our teacher, but first, we all did some singing, accompanied by the ever-adaptable Pete Churchill on piano.
We tackled Barbados, music by Charlie Parker, and lyrics by Sheila herself, and others. We were advised about having full song lead sheets  (tune, lyrics, chords etc) then Sheila taught us this bebop tune. Thanks to lots of encouragement, we were soon each soloing over 4 bars of the chords. Lots of advice about scatting – ‘Don’t do it if you don’t want to, Billie Holiday didn’t scat’ and ‘avoid using letter ‘s’, it can sound like a very rude word. We then sang a short blues, playing with lyrics by saying our names and where we lived and other quick comments, simple but effective exercises. And all this was peppered with anecdotes about Sheila’s life and times.

Up stepped our singers, Jen did I Didn’t Know What Time It Was, Julie performed a rather complex  Kurt Weill/Ogden Nash song I’m A Stranger Here Myself and Amy brought a song which was her audition piece for the Leeds Conservatoire, All The Things You Are. They all did well and received useful advice. Said Sheila to Amy ‘if you don’t get through that audition, refer them to me’.

We were then given email and website details, and even Sheila’s home address, so that we could pop in to see her if we ever happened to be in New York!  I can’t wait to hear Sheila do her stuff on the Sunday afternoon of the festival.
‘And remember, keep singing’ said Sheila finally. Good advice!
Ann Alex 


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