World renowned vocal stylist Sheila Jordan is a product of the rich Detroit
Jazz legacy. Beginning her performing career in the ‘40s, she would
regularly sit in at local clubs like The Bluebird and The Sudan when
big-time Jazz stars would come through her hometown. One of these stars
was the legendary Charlie Parker, who Ms. Jordan names as her "musical
Moving to New York during the last days of the bebop era in the early ‘50s,
she performed at clubs and jam sessions with giants like bassist Charles
Mingus and pianist Herbie Nichols, and studied with the groundbreaking
pianist and visionary Lennie Tristano. Noted for her creativity and
individualistic style among the hipper critics and musicians, Ms. Jordan’s
first significant recognition came in 1962 from her Blue Note recording,
'Portrait of Sheila,' and her startling work on 'You Are My Sunshine' from
the great George Russell’s 'Outer View' album.
After working with innovative trombonist Roswell Rudd’s group in the late
‘70s, Ms. Jordan joined Steve Kuhn’s quartet where she met bassist Harvie
Swartz, with whom she soon after formed a separate duo.
These days she still travels extensively, performing nationally and
internationally as a soloist, with the Sheila Jordan/Harvie Swartz Duo, and
with her own quartet. A two-time recipient of National Endowment for the
Arts fellowships, she has won the 'DownBeat' Magazine Critics Poll’s Talent
Deserving of Wider Recognition vocal category an amazing nine times and has
placed in the top five of its established talent every year since 1980.
Despite her busy performing career, Ms. Jordan has been conducting vocal
workshops at New York’s City College since 1978, is a faculty member of
"Jazz in July" at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is a
visiting professor at Stanford University. She’s also taught at New York’s
New School for Social Research and the Manhattan School of Music, and has
served as vocal teacher at the Musica Hochschule in Graz, Austria.