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Sheila Jordan 
 
Sheila Jeannette Dawson nacque nel 1928, a Detroit, nel Michigan. Cresciuta in povertà in Pennsylvanya, la terra dei minatori, Sheila Jordan iniziò a cantare che era ancora bambina, e poco più che adolescente stava già lavorando semiprofessionalmente nei club di Detroit. Fu grandemente influenzata da Charlie Parker, e in effetti venne influenzata maggiormente dai musicisti piuttosto che dai cantanti. Dato che lavorava principalmente con musicisti di colore, venne molto osteggiata dalla comunità bianca...ma la sua musica vinceva tutte le false differenze...

Quando ero una ragazzina Charlie Parker soleva dirmi che avevo un orecchio da un milione di dollari…. Diceva: "Andrai bene, ragazzina!" ...tutto ciò che ti accade durante la vita, in bene o in male, se sei realmente collegata alla musica, se la tua anima è collegata alla musica e diventa parte della tua anima, o la riempie completamente, allora ci siamo. Questa è la storia..questa è la tua storia...questa è la tua anima...il resto è sangue che scorre sulle note!
Sheila Jordan

Sheila Jordan grew up in Summerhill, Pennsylvania before returning to her birthplace in 1940/41 playing the piano and singing semi-professionally in Detroit clubs. She was influenced by Charlie Parker and was part of a trio called Skeeter, Mitch and Jean (she was Jean) which composed lyrics to Parker's Arrangements. Sheila also claimed in her song "Sheila's Blues" that Charlie Parker wrote the song, "Chasing the Bird" for her, as she and her friends were known to chase him around the jazz clubs in the 1940s.

In 1951 she moved to New York and started studying harmony and music theory taught by Lennie Tristano and Charles Mingus. From 1952 to 1962 she was married to Charlie Parker's pianist Duke Jordan.

In the early 1960s she had gigs and sessions in the Page Three Club in Greenwich Village, where she was performing with pianist Herbie Nichols,[3] and was working in different clubs and bars in New York.

In 1962 she was discovered by George Russell who did a recording of the song "You Are My Sunshine" with her on his album The Outer View (Riverside). Later that year she recorded the Portrait of Sheila album (recorded in September 19 and October 12, 1962) which was sold to Blue Note.[4]

Over the next decade, Jordan withdrew from music to raise her daughter. She supported herself by working as a legal secretary.

Later in the decade she sang jazz liturgies in different churches such as Cornell and Princeton, NYC. Jordan played with Don Heckman (1967-68), Lee Konitz (1972), Roswell Rudd (1972-75) and began her long working relationship with Steve Kuhn around this time.

In 1974 she was "Artist in Residence" at the City College and was teaching there in 1975. On the 12th of July 1975 she recorded "Confirmation". One year later she did the duet album simply called Sheila with Arild Andersen (bass) for SteepleChase in the end of 1976. In 1979 she founded a quartet with Kuhn, Harvie Swartz and Bob Moses. During the 1980s she was working with Harvie Swartz as a duo and played on several records with him. Until 1987 she worked in an advertising agency and recorded Lost and Found in 1989.
 
   


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