Sheila Jordan & Cameron Brown @ The Lensic, Santa Fe, New Mexico — July 27, 2o12 — photographs by Jim Gale
sheila jordan in santa fe
Is the first rule of the universe.
This universe of two, on stage, in duet, they start off
with “Humdrum Blues” and they are so buoyant,
light as a feather,
direct as electricity.
And Sheila has an internal clock second to none, Big Ben
is asleep at the wheel next to her, she’s connected to
Cosmic Universal Time and Cameron Brown has a
feather duster keeping it all clean — WOW, these two
were astounding, they went to that place beyond art.
Virtuosity is merely a lamp on the mantle, we bow to it
but it can be meaningless. These two artists shot out into
the realm of transference — connecting directly and immediately
with the audience. From the first notes the house was transfixed,
rapt. (This is Rapt Music, baby.) An hour went by but it
seemed like minutes.
It’s not something you see too often: two figures on stage before
eight hundred pairs of eyes. And there’s nothing like catching someone
live to see who’s the real deal. Courageous. The absolute clarity of
bass walking and words — locked and buoyant — hearing words in
those songs I had completely forgotten about — long ago words that now
have a birthday cake in front of them with candles, Sheila loves those
words, she is the song, and Cameron selects perfectly celebratory notes,
his notes are devoid of dishonesty, if he doesn’t know the note, he
doesn’t play it — I was knocked out.
Sheila is of the generation raised on Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (she
tells us the story of movie houses in Pennsylvania) — they played their
Fred Astaire “Cheek to Cheek” medley including a Robert Creeley poem.
As well, an Irving Berlin medley,
“I Got Rhythm/Anthropology”
“Goodbye Porkpie Hat”
“Brother Where Are You?”
“All Blues” and “Freddie Freeloader”
and a dozen others, some of it made up on the spot. We drove back
to Albuquerque, and inasmuch as I pay attention to things like
awards and gold stars and Presidential citations, we did say to
each other: Wow, that’s why she’s a Jazz Master.
August 4, 2o12