sheila jordan in santa fe

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”
“Dat Dere”
“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.

—–Mark Weber
August 4, 2o12


  1. Mark Weber

    I also loved Cameron Brown’s hipster mannerisms, dramatis personae, poised expressions of anticipation awaiting Sheila’s next move . . .

  2. Tom Guralnick

    Yes sir! A master indeed. and a truly wonderful human being. An honor to present her and Cameron. She lightened everybody’s hearts, souls, and ears. Moved us deeply. And what about she and Kurt Elling and the Jon Hendricks Family Jumpin at the Woodside the next night? yes! What a treat.

  3. Joshua Breakstone

    The enthusiasm and energy was obviously inspiring, as we can see from the beautiful writing of Mark Weber, a master in his own right, and Tom Guralnik, the enabler for such a long time of such inspiring happenings as described. I wasn’t at the concert, but I’d say that if we all put a little energy, intelligence and enthusiasm- as you two regularly do- into the pot, we’d have some kind of positive, creative, fulfilling…even fun?- wBest, Joshua

  4. Mark Weber

    The Lensic was 2 nights of singers — on Sheila’s night she was followed by Dianne Reeves and her quartet (drums, bass, piano, guitar) and the following evening was Jon Hendricks and Kurt Elling. I missed the second night but was up there that afternoon when Sheila Jordan and Jon Hendricks were interviewed by A.B. Spellman before an intimate audience @ Lensic and when Jon was explaining the time Ellington asked him to write lyrics for a set of songs, he sang sotto voce “What Am I Here For?” and Sheila joined in on harmony. Too bad that wasn’t on tape.

    Dianne Reeves Quartet performed one of the greatest versions of “Stormy Monday” I have ever heard, a long rambling invention free floating and jazzed with a capital J.

  5. Charley Krachy

    Recently had the pleasure of seeing this Duo live in Cold Spring NY at “Chapel Restorations” …..During the first tune, which was a blues, a metro north train came by & blew it’s whistle…Sheila said “here comes the train” and incorporated it into the tune as if it had been written…….Two great jazz artists ……..a great performance..!!!

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