Sheila Jordan & Cameron Brown all out there by themselves in duet — July 27, 2o12 Santa Fe — photo by Mark Weber
THE THURSDAY JAZZ RADIO SHOW
March 5, 2o15 – Jazz @ Noon every Thursday (starts at 12:07 after the satellite news) Host MARK WEBER – KUNM Albuquerque, USA – 89.9 FM (Mountain Standard Time) also streaming on the web > KUNM.org – Current time zone offset: UTC*/GMT -6 hours (*Coordinated Universal Time)/Greenwich Mean Time)
SHEILA JORDAN on the road
She looks like she could have been a coal miner’s daughter
and she looks like the great great granddaughter of an Indian priestess queen
and she looks like a secretary
and she looks like an Ulster-Scot
and she looks like a bird
a world traveler, a waitress, a forgiver, a person who
only recently learned how to drive a car
a person who’s house burned down
who’s town was flooded
who bagged groceries and lit candles
who hugged all the people she could that had turned bad
who drinks Pepsi with her cheeseburger
who talks to cows
and there’s something about her that seems she was a foundling,
an orphan, a lost soul, and a revived soul
who cries when she thinks about “Now’s the Time”
who cooks big Thanksgiving dinners
who jumps for joy when it starts to snow
who has belly’d up to the bar
kneel’d down in church, but
has since found a place somewhere in between
who likes the color green
who’s eyes sparkle like crystals, crystalline,
sparklers, who’s eyes travel a million miles
…….when she sings of sadness, or
taking a slow boat to China, or
…….asks the gasoline attendant to fill ‘er up
who can give an audience goosebumps with her song
or send them
and wiping away a tear tell them how happy she is to be here
wonders what it all means, always singing
always those wild crazy freedom notes of jazz
Sheila Jordan is all of those things in that poem, the only thing I took a guess about is the color green. And I skipped one of the generations: She’s actually the great great great granddaughter of Queen Aliquippa, an Iroquois chieftess in western Pennsylvania of the 1700s. We’ll ask her about all that when she visits the studio at KUNM this day, and we’re hoping her bass playing friend maestro CAMERON BROWN comes along.
Sheila Jordan Quartet — February 7 1981 at the Maiden Voyage, downtown Los Angeles — Bob Moses, drums; Harvie Swartz, bass; Steve Kuhn, piano — photo by Mark Weber —- at the time of this photo touring bands would be booked for a week or two at jazz clubs or sometimes Wednesday thru Saturday or Sunday, which I believe is how Sheila was booked on this one — she still worked for that Madison Avenue advertising agency but they were always good to allow Sheila to pursue her artistic life, also she could visit her daughter Tracey who was with the West Coast division of Motown at the time (I wonder if one of those people in the audience is her?)
Sheila Jordan — February 7, 1981 — Is the fact that someone has found a way to be happy in life an indication of great sorrows earlier in their days? Vicissitudes? (Let’s put Freud out with the milk bottles, okay, just for now.) I think it means that she is winning in this game of life, which is a decision one makes, we have options, choices, doors that we can walk through . . . . photo by Mark Weber
Sheila Jordan, the great great great granddaughter of Queen Aliquippa — February 7, 1981 —- photo by Mark Weber
Lensic Theater, Santa Fe, New Mexico — July 27, 2o12 — photo & line drawing by Mark Weber
Jon Hendricks, Sheila Jordan, A.B. Spellman afternoon talk at Lensic Theatre, Santa Fe — July 28, 2o12 — photo by Mark Weber
We’re mounting this one for Sheila to have a laugh, even if a rueful laugh —- this is way out in the middle of nowhere on the Llano Estacado (staked plains) of New Mexico, north of Logan on Rt. 40 on the Canadian River just before you pass into Texas —- Janet and I and Todd Moore were on our way to Great Bend, Kansas, for the annual Poetry Rendezvous, and when we passed this I knew nobody would believe me if I didn’t take a shot —- Sheila turned away from that door and made the Crossing — photo by Mark Weber — August 2, 1993
I haven’t drank in 20+ years but that used to be me —- cartoon by the great John Billette, circa 1990
Patti Littlefield — March 8, 1999 —- my long-time permanent sub on my radio show when I am out of town —- Patti has been singing ever since she could stand up and hold on to the top rail of her crib and over all the years I have known her, she has always professed Sheila Jordan is her favorite singer, in fact, for the longest time Patti was the only person I knew who had Sheila’s first album (PORTRAIT OF SHEILA JORDAN) way before there were re-issue programs, way out here in the provinces we have to wait for the stage coach to bring the new releases and that can be years, I must have borrowed that record half a dozen times —- So, in the best of all possible worlds, Tom at the Outpost has asked Patti to open up for Sheila & Cameron on March 5th, and she has asked maestro John Rangel to play piano for her ———- photo by Mark Weber
John Rangel (piano) with the Tribute Trio + Michael Vlatkovich who was asked to play one tune on this concert of all Lennie Tristano music, so, Michael picked “Lennie Bird” and spent some time writing out the line so that his trombone could negotiate this complicated piece — Michael Glynn, bass; and Cal Haines, drums — August 22, 2o10 Albuquerque —- in this photo Michael has just finished playing, but before he started he went to the microphone and said: “I want to say that this music that they are playing today is very, very, very, very, very, very, VERY difficult. And that they are playing it very, very, very, very, very, very, VERY well. Now, I am going to try and make the best of this one.” (Lennie’s music doesn’t lay that well on trombone.) — photo by Mark Weber
Albuquerque is what used to be a highland grassland valley, with buffalo and pronghorn antelope, before the Spaniards brought ungulates (hooved beasts, cows, sheep, goats) that desertified the land in the 17th century. Albuquerque is an island city and is farther away from any other metropolitan city in the continental U.S. with El Paso (south), Denver (north), Phoenix (west), and Dallas (east), over 500 miles distant. It is a city of dartboards and barking dogs. When you fly in you see nothing but desert for hours until all of a sudden out of nowhere appears this island city. The Sandia Mountains border the east of the city and Sheila in this photo (by KUNM disk jockey Chris Martin) is on Sandia Crest (10,678 feet, and one of the few mountains in the world you can drive to the top, oddly enough). Panoramic view of Rio Grande. This photo is most likely from her visit in 1984 when she and Harvie S performed at EJ’s Coffee Shop, February 26, (corner of Silver & Yale) which is almost next door to the Outpost and now the location of Annapurna Ayurvedic restaurant who are the sponsors for her Outpost show! Everything comes full circle.
Wow.. that was fantastic..’Sheila Jordan on the Road’ I can’t wait to see Ms Sheila Jordan and Cameron Brown again live at the Outpost..
Wonderful poem and it sure resonated.
We are so damn lucky, you know? And believe me I don’t take any of this for granted.
Also, my dear cuzzin, for an Okie – yer a special man, – gifting us with all this bountiful and inspiring musical stuff.
You’ve got quite a legacy going on yourself.
TWO or 3 THINGS
1) Llano Estacado = Staked Plains: It was Coronado’s scribe who named it thusly in 1540 as their invasion army traversed what is now the New Mexico/Texas borderlands dotted with yucca stalks
2) see Sheila’s website for the trail she blazes over the world map — Her & Cameron will be arriving in New Mexico from Vancouver BC — and from Albuquerque she goes to Santa Fe
3) 20 years is nothing compared to the frist 24 hours, or the first week, or the first month of sobriety, those are the most blessed (20 years is gravy as Raymond Carver points out in his poem of the same name) — it still wrecks me to see a person receive their first 24-hour chip in the program, I have to hold back a flood of tears, or even to see a person receive what we call a Desire Chip, just the desire to be well someday, what we say: Your best thinking got you here
Really nice poem Mark. Makes me want to hear her and to feel a little bit like I already have.
She is so uniquely beyond almost all of the others who are just doing pop-like stuff.
Thanks for the wonderful poem and for giving us a deeper sense of Sheila. And thanks for including Patti and your drawings as well.
that’s one very entertaining poem. i love it…
Hu Mark Thanks for the lovely poem for Sheila and the photos. Also for your lifelong love and support for soulful creative music. Please give my love to Sheila and Cameron if you see them. Looks like I may be coming to NM around Oct.. Maybe I’ll see you. Love Always Hu Ra-Kalam
Great Article, Photography and Poem!!! THANKS!
Be sure and see Laurence Svirchev’s review of
JAZZ CHILD at misterioso.org >>> LINK >>>
Book Review: Jazz Child, A Portrait of Sheila Jordan by Ellen Johnson
I love what Ra-Kalam Bob Moses says about Sheila on page 170 of her biography JAZZ CHILD:
Thank you for this Mark.
I love Sheila – she is one of the only true jazz singers in the world! When she sings, you feel it in every part of you – from your soul to your toes. Her originality is astounding. I also have her first album – Portrait of Sheila – it is one of my all time favorites.
This Thursday will be the day that I try to stream your show from my computer – I’m not too computer savvy, but how hard could this be?
Hi Mark, I like the color in your drawing, along with these weekly poems and photo-essays.They make checking the inbox fun.
I see on page 59 of JAZZ CHILD that Sheila’s daughter probably wasn’t at the Maiden Voyage as she didn’t relocate to Los Angeles till 1987 ——– Tracey was senior vice-president at Motown for 5 years on the Coast and then returned to NYC in 1992 ———nowadays she works for Serius XM in Manhattan, her mother says: “She’s very good at what she does.”
Sherrill and I saw Sheila and Cameron on Tuesday. Great concert, they gave all they had, which was a lot. First time for Sherrill to experience Sheila. Michael arrives on Saturday for a week.
The Crossing Jazz Radio Show
March 5, 2o15 ———–KUNM Albuqueque/Santa Fe
GUESTS in-studio: Sheila Jordan, Cameron Brown, Tom Guralnick
HOST Mark Weber
1. Charlie Parker’s Reboppers “Thriving on a Riff” aka “Anthropology” –26nov45 NYC w/Miles, Sadik Hakim, Curley Russell, Max — the Complete Savoy Recordings
2. Sheila Jordan & Cameron Brown “Goodbye Porkpie Hat” –11nov97 cd I’VE GROWN ACCUSTOMED TO THE BASS
3. Bird “Now’s the Time” the Koko session
4. Shiela Jordan at Lennie Tristano’s Memorial Concert –January 28, 1979 “Yesterdays” w/H.Danko, Lou Grassi, Cameron
5. “The Crossing” from CELEBRATION
THANK YOU, Mark for introducing me to this your website. Your talents know no bounds. What an intimate poem. Quietly reinforcing what a privilege it was for me to be at the Space last night.
Before you think I’ve lost my mind ——- (if you listen to the KUNM archive of this radio show)—— there is a real good reason I asked that perfectly dumb question, “Sheila, what’s your favorite color?”
On the radio I’m the engineer, host, interviewer, record programmer, receptionist, and engineer —— and I asked that question to buy time, being that I was in the middle of an engineering issue (I was sending notes back & forth to Cameron over which track on CELEBRATION we should play to end the show) hand signals, and shrugging shoulders, and querilous looks, and that’s the only question that popped into my head, WHICH WAS a question I was meaning to ask Sheila, but not on the radio airwaves!——BUT, as usual, Sheila turned it into a very interesting piece of talk, and that’s why I say, “Well, I’m glad I asked!”
ALSO on the show we spun “Dizzy Atmosphere” (the February 28, 1945 version) Dizzy Gillespie Sextet w/Charlie Parker, Remo Palmieri, Clyde Hart, Slam Stewart, Cozy Cole and Sheila sang along . . . . . . (she sang along with all the Bird tunes we played that day!) and ALSO ALSO she sang a cappella Ornette’s “When Will the Blues Leave?” tremendously