Sheila Jordan Actually

Outpost Performance Space, Albuquerque USA -- March 10, 2o17 -- photo by Mark Weber

Outpost Performance Space, Albuquerque USA — March 10, 2o17 — photo by Mark Weber

The Thursday Jazz Radio Show

March 23, 2o17 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)

Today on the Thursday jazz show we have the ardent pleasure to have as our guest Live in-studio at KUNM the great great great granddaughter of Queen Aliquippa the Mingo Seneca chief of the Iroquois Nation: SHEILA JORDAN, who was raised in the western Pennsylvania coal mine hilltowns that previously were Queen Aliquippa’s homeland along the three waters of Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers.

It is yet one more confluence of influences that made Sheila Jordan: singing in those beer gardens in the Allegheny Mountains with her grandfather who called her Little Song, to Detroit in her teen years, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Billie Holiday, New York City, marriage to an absent junkie husband, raising a daughter in the big city, George Russell, Lennie Tristano, Escalator Over the Hill, always singing always, Steve Kuhn, Harvie S, house burning down, Cameron Brown, Flexible Flyer, yesterdays, inchworm, to her own Crossing of the river into new life every day.

When she walks on stage all of that comes along with her, but “never an imitator … all of the influences are so thoroughly absorbed” (Andrew Rowan liners to album THE CROSSING)

Into it and out of it
is how it seems if you’re not listening closely
she’s on the tip of the diving board
showing us that there is no difference between in and out, really,
she’s singing true to herself
“I am a messenger of the music” is how she puts it, and
“Jazz will never die”

In the alley behind Outpost Performance Space, Albuquerque -- March 10, 2o17 -- photo by Mark Weber -- artist unknown . . . .

In the alley behind Outpost Performance Space, Albuquerque — March 10, 2o17 — photo by Mark Weber — artist unknown . . . .

A recent visitor to Studio 725 from NYC: Adam Caine testing out my old box -- February 24, 2017 -- photo by Mark Weber ---- Maybe that's what jazz is: A reckoning of the non-Pythagorian elements of chords (ever since the adjusted "tempered" keyboard, chords are not cadenced in perfect harmony, the notes rub up against each other) -- Maybe that's one of the wellsprings of jazz? I have always wonder'd why there are those of us who like jazz and that we are in the minority -- could it be this slight distortion in the music? It has an edge. By "edge" I mean a sort of agitation that is not resolved. The distortion is ever so slight, subliminal, and maybe jazz has been a glorification of this non-reconciliation?

A recent visitor to Studio 725 from NYC: Adam Caine testing out my old box — February 24, 2017 — photo by Mark Weber —- Maybe that’s what jazz is: A reckoning of the non-Pythagorian elements of chords (ever since the adjusted “tempered” keyboard, chords are not cadenced in perfect harmony, the notes rub up against each other) — Maybe that’s one of the wellsprings of jazz? I have always wonder’d why there are those of us who like jazz and that we are in the minority — could it be this slight distortion in the music? It has an edge. By “edge” I mean a sort of agitation that is not resolved. The distortion is ever so slight, subliminal, and maybe jazz has been a glorification of this non-reconciliation?

Warne Marsh Quartet at Donte's -- October 7, 1976 -- Fred Atwood (bass), Lou Levy (piano), Warne (tenor) -- photo by Mark Weber

Warne Marsh Quartet at Donte’s — October 7, 1976 — Fred Atwood (bass), Lou Levy (piano), Warne (tenor) — photo by Mark Weber

Sheila Jordan & Cameron Brown -- July 27, 2o12 at Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico -- photo by Mark Weber

Sheila Jordan & Cameron Brown — July 27, 2o12 at Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico — photo by Mark Weber

Jon Hendricks & Sheila Jordan -- July 28, 2o12 Santa Fe -- photo by Mark Weber

Jon Hendricks & Sheila Jordan — July 28, 2o12 Santa Fe — photo by Mark Weber

Sheila Jordan in her apartment on 18th Street, Manhattan, with her painting by Virginia Cox (oil on board, early 60s) "Virginia was one of the few black women painters on the scene then, nobody ever asks about that painting. That's Duke (Jordan) and Miles and me." Photo by Mark Weber -- November 18, 2o16 -- It was Sheila's birthday and I was taking her out for late breakfast at our favorite neighborhood spot The Dish on 8th Avenue (between 20th & 21st Streets) afterwhich, we walked over to the Apple store so she could buy a cord -- In 1952 when Sheila left Detroit for New York City she and her Detroit friends Jenny King nee Devries, and Virginia Cox, all lived in an apartment in Gramercy Park (neighborhood on Manhattan at 21st Street and Lexington) ---- Over her kitchen sink she has a poster print of a tremendous painting by Bob Moses titled something like "The Expanded Moment" or "The Expanded Musical Moment" -- it might have been from a gallery exhibit Bob was having.

Sheila Jordan in her apartment on 18th Street, Manhattan, with her painting by Virginia Cox (oil on board, early 60s) “Virginia was one of the few black women painters on the scene then, nobody ever asks about that painting. That’s Duke (Jordan) and Miles and me.” Photo by Mark Weber — November 18, 2o16 — It was Sheila’s birthday and I was taking her out for late breakfast at our favorite neighborhood spot The Dish on 8th Avenue (between 20th & 21st Streets) afterwhich, we walked over to the Apple store so she could buy a cord — In 1952 when Sheila left Detroit for New York City she and her Detroit friends Jenny King nee Devries, and Virginia Cox, all lived in an apartment in Gramercy Park (neighborhood on Manhattan at 21st Street and Lexington) —- Over her kitchen sink she has a poster print of a tremendous painting by Bob Moses titled something like “The Expanded Moment” or “The Expanded Musical Moment” — it might have been from a gallery exhibit Bob was having.

Sheila Jordan with sales clerk at Apple store where she was buying a patch cord for her laptop -- the clerk was all ready to take her credit card and run it through his phone thing when she pulled out cash, the green stuff! He looked at it surprised. Maybe he's never seen cash before? He had to go downstairs and all over looking for a change box (she gave him a hundred dollar bill) -- We stood around and admired the glass stair case -- November 18, 2o16 NYC -- photo by Mark Weber -- I told Sheila I'm still trying to figure out this little shirt pocket digital camera and tell me if I'm being a pest snapping pictures and she said, "There's a lot to take pictures of, I totally understand!"

Sheila Jordan with sales clerk at Apple store where she was buying a patch cord for her laptop — the clerk was all ready to take her credit card and run it through his phone thing when she pulled out cash, the green stuff! He looked at it surprised. Maybe he’s never seen cash before? He had to go downstairs and all over looking for a change box (she gave him a hundred dollar bill) — We stood around and admired the glass stair case — November 18, 2o16 NYC — photo by Mark Weber — I told Sheila I’m still trying to figure out this little shirt pocket digital camera and tell me if I’m being a pest snapping pictures and she said, “There’s a lot to take pictures of, I totally understand!”

Glass staircase at Apple store Manhattan -- November 18, 2o16 -- photo by Mark Weber

Glass staircase at Apple store Manhattan — November 18, 2o16 — photo by Mark Weber

The tableaux over our booth at The Dish, 201 8th Avenue -- November 18, 2o16 -- photo by Mark Weber

The tableaux over our booth at The Dish, 201 8th Avenue — November 18, 2o16 — photo by Mark Weber

Sheila's luggage ensemble ready to go -- November 18, 2o16 NYC -- digital photo by Mark Weber -- She's coming soon to New Mexico for gigs: Thursday March 23, 2o17 at Outpost Performance Space, Albuquerque; Friday March 24 at Harwood Museum in Taos; and Saturday March 25 at Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Santa Fe, with her quartet of Darek Oles (bass) and John Trentacosta (drums) and Alan Pasqua (piano) who plays on SJ's 1975 album CONFIRMATION and used to live in Santa Fe and I think lives in Los Angeles these days and is bringing Darek -- John is from Staten Island and lives in Santa Fe

Sheila’s luggage ensemble ready to go — November 18, 2o16 NYC — digital photo by Mark Weber — She’s coming soon to New Mexico for gigs: Thursday March 23, 2o17 at Outpost Performance Space, Albuquerque; Friday March 24 at Harwood Museum in Taos; and Saturday March 25 at Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Santa Fe, with her quartet of Darek Oles (bass) and John Trentacosta (drums) and Alan Pasqua (piano) who plays on SJ’s 1975 album CONFIRMATION and used to live in Santa Fe and I think lives in Los Angeles these days and is bringing Darek — John is from Staten Island and lives in Santa Fe

Sheila's song plus two of the lucky ones who escaped -- photo by the cashier at The Dish-- November 18, 2o16 -- Here's something I wrote a couple nights ago that I didn't know was a poem about someone searching for recovery until it finished writing itself . . . .

Sheila’s song plus two of the lucky ones who escaped — photo by the cashier at The Dish– November 18, 2o16 — Here’s something I wrote a couple nights ago that I didn’t know was a poem about someone searching for recovery until it finished writing itself . . . .

I wouldn’t call it that
turned around such as it was
inverted
contrary
windswept
we walked along the pier
late, under sparkling kaleidoscope sky:
the night changes many things
but this was different, like
           the ocean, if you lived closer
it wouldn’t seem so illogical
tempting engagement, shoving off
away from shore, taken by currents
you know not where
you’d have to master your fear
lest you become a nervous wreck
shipwrecked among your lobster nightmares
wrapped in seaweed
teeth chattering, eyelids frozen open
huddled in the sand you couldn’t forget
endless drunk
there has to be a way out
someone please pray for me

9 Comments

  1. Looks like my eyelids are frozen open in that photo, yeeesh

  2. I would like to ask Sheila Jordan if she recalls recording with Sue Beshears, a blind trumpeter from St. Louis; and, if so, what her impressions of Sue were. The question need not be asked on the air. It could be before or after.

  3. “You Are My Sunshine” from “The Outer View” by George Russell (1962): remarkable performance from Sheila and “ahead of his time” (always) arrangement of the early 1940s tune.

  4. Hey, Mark— Thanks for the look-in on SJ. It’s great to have a look at the world through your lens, the literal one and the metaphorical one. Thank for this and all you do.

  5. Thank you Mark for these beautiful photos, stories and profound poetry. I love Sheila! The first time I heard her I was beside myself – I didn’t know what hit me! Her scatting and way with rendering words to music are so original and great! Her feeling and sound seer the soul. Have a beautiful time all of you!

  6. joan jobe smith voss

    March 23, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    what a woman! so glad to “meet” this thrilling, exotic lady via this essay-homage by you, Mark. “Seer the soul”
    Carol Tristano wrote above abt Sheila’s original renderings to music. Can’t wait to hear Sheila myself soon. Loved
    your poem and pix and your artful oodles of deft doodles…love… joan

  7. Hey just listened to the show via the archives. You just ended with Sheila’s Good Morning Heart Ache. So beautiful. I’ve always thought about how Billie comes from Louis – and her singing is so completely original – and here comes Sheila – coming from Bird and Billie as you said – with her striking originality – just a deep down wonderful thing. The lines of jazz……evolution.
    Thanks for the show.

  8. ——————————————playlist———————————–
    The One Day At A Time Jazz Radio Show
    in which allergies play a big part
    March 23, 2o17
    Host MARK WEBER

    1. Charlie Parker Quintet “Confirmation” –30july53 (Verve)
    2. Sheila’s telephone message answering machine in Manhattan singing her message to melody of “Blue Monk” *Sheila Jordan was to be our guest today but she was derailed by a chest cold that made public performance of any sort impossible — she had to withdraw on doctor’s orders from the performances and Alan Pasqua continued as a trio
    3. Lines For Ladies “Killer Joe” — 3nov2o14 Germany end of tour performance w/Sheila
    4. Supersax “Koko” first album — 1973
    5. Sheila Jordan w/ Steve Kuhn Quartet “Confirmation” although this track just Harvey S & her in duet with Sheila scatting her butt off on “Confirmation” —–until Steve comes in on whacky piano at end — April 1981 — Lp LAST YEAR’S WALTZ (ECM)
    6. George Russell Sextet “Nardis” –8may61 — I tell the story of George & Sheila driving in his Volkswagen to New Mexico around this time to secure a quickie divorce from Duke Jordan so they could get married, which then never happened
    7. Sheila & Harvey S “Fats Waller Medley” –1990 cd YESTERDAYS (HighNote)
    8. Charlie Parker w/strings — 1950 — “Dancing in the Dark” Dietz & Schwartz)(Verve) — Sheila has always been a big fan of Fred Astaire and probably was thinking of him & Cyd Charisse dancing in Central Park in the movie BAND WAGON(1953) (the song was written for the 1931 Broadway stage version)
    9. Eddie Jefferson “Bless My Soul” — 1950 set to “Parker’s Mood”
    10. Babs Gonzales “Cool Whalin'” — 1952
    11. Joe Carroll “I Don’t Want Love” — 1970 — these 3 bop vocalese scat trax from the compilation COOL WHALIN’ (Spotlite) — I played these to show the milieu from which Sheila came out of as well this next track shows what was happening in Detroit when she was there post-high school.
    12. Sonny Stitt 7-tet “Lion’s Roar” — April 1948 cd IN THE BEGINNING (Galaxy) w/ solos by Leo Parker (bari), Stitt (alto), JJJohnson(trombone), Russell Jacquet(trumpet)
    13. Peter Ind “Bach” –1987– overdubbed double bass track on cd version of LOOKING OUT (Wave) — Sheila first experimented with only voice + bass with Peter in the 50s and then her first actual
    performance was with Charlie Mingus in Toledo 1954 when she was in audience for Mingus Trio w/Lee
    Konitz and Mingus asked her up on stage and they dueted on “Yesterdays” p113 of her autobiography —-she went on to duet with Arild Anderson, Cameron Brown, Harvey S, Steve Swallow, and possibly Sonny Dallas, and probably a few others impromptu —— I played this because Sheila likes to listen to Bach as all hipsters do . . . .
    14. Supersax “Au Privave” — 1970s cd STONE BIRD (Capitol) * I wanted to ask how this Los Angeles band was received by the Bird acolytes of NYC ———— next time . . . .
    15. Bobby Bradford & David Murray in duet (cornet & tenor) “Sidesteps” — 1991 cd DEATH OF A SIDEMAN (DIW) — I think of this as Bobby’s bebop tune
    16. Sheila “Good Morning Heartache” from cd LOST AND FOUND (Muse) –Sept 1989

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