SHEILA CELEBRATES WITHOUT MICKEY
Well Mickey Mouse was nowhere in sight but Sheila Jordan was feted in a grand manner at the Jazz Standard, 116 E27th Street in NYC, on the night of November 18 (and the following night) with SRO crowds and people traveling from all over the globe to be there. Upon arriving we ran into Richard Jennings, the president emeritus of the United Nations Jazz Society and, after a coat check, I spotted a man who turned out to Joe Fields, who produced many of Sheila's best sessions [Muse / High Note], a man who I have spoken to on the phone for about 30 years but never met. Pianist Brian Kellogg, who Sheila's been raving about since she first heard him, was in from Scotland [he sat in the first set], singers Ian Shaw and Jilly Manly, from England, were spotted sharing a table with another singer, the great Mark Murphy. Elsie Osborne from Edmonton, a singer and one of Sheila's students, was sitting to my right and Dorothee Berryman, the other Montrealer in house, was to my left ["The Barbarian Invasions" film, she's "Louise", opened in NYC that week] and others I recognized were Sheila's daughter Traci, singers Nora York, Theo Bleckmann and Jay Clayton, baritone saxophonist Claire Daly, drummer Bill Goodwin, trombonist Roswell Rudd and pianists Ray Gallon, Lenore Raphael and Frank Kimbrough. Two sets with songs like Dat Dere (as it was when she was an infant, for Traci), Baltimore Oriole, Hum Drum Blues, Sheila's Blues and Bird's Barbados with Mark Murphy joining in as did Theo, Janet, Jilly and Roswell -- lots of flowers [Sheila quipped that she was opening a flower shop] and much love for a wonderful lady and great singer and teacher, one I first met way back in 1961. The Jazz Standard is one of the best [and most reasonable] spots in New York to hear jazz and this night was one of the listening highlights of my long career. The trip was capped the following day when I had lunch with Sheila and Claire Daly, a lunch that was highlighted by Sheila's story about the "bebop" cows. She lives on top of a mountain near Albany and often goes on nature walks on her large property which is surrounded by farmland. On one of these she was scatting some bebop lines when she notice a number of cows listening to her, after awhile she tried a ballad and they all left. A little while later Theo Bleckmann was visiting and Sheila suggested they go out and sing some bebop to the cows. "Anthropology" brought an attentive group of bovine and after a number of bebop numbers; they then again tried a ballad with the same result -- definitely bebop cows! A couple of days later a farmer knocked on the door looking for his cows, not the bebop fanciers but cows from the next town, cows that had to climb the mountain to be where there were found -- they had been missing for three days. Sheila would like to think the cows in her audience had sent word to the next town that they had discovered a bebop singer on the property adjacent to theirs!
[At this time an appearance by Sheila Jordan at Upstairs in late February is being negotiated.]
Francois Richard appears at Salle Gesu on Friday, December 12 with Geoff Lapp, Frederic Alarie and Michel Lambert. Upstairs [1254 Mackay] has seen memorable appearances by a Denny Christianson quintet featuring Pat LaBarbera and Jan Jarczyk, singer Diane Nalini [who returns New Year's Eve], Min Rager, Sharada Banman and Joshua Rager who unveiled a great debut CD. At press time pianist Bryn Roberts arrives with Will Vinson, an altoman from England and a Kevin Dean combo featuring Charles Ellison, the John Roney trio, Sheila Smith, Brian Hurley and the Jean-Francois Groulx Quartet are all due in December. "TBA" was also scheduled but once again to cancel. Watch for Christine Jensen with Francois Theberge (in from France), and pianist Louise Denson, who's now living in Australia, early in the New Year. At the Cabaret [2111 St. Laurent] Dorothee Berryman will be doing two 5 day stints, February 10-14 and March 2-6 with the same fine band heard on her CD, "P.S. I Love You". (Tickets are now on sale)
TOP 10 JAZZ CDS - 2003 in alphabetical order
(* = Canadian)
*Dorothee Berry P.S. I Love You [Factrie | Select]
Michael Brecker Wide Angles [Verve | Universal]
Bob Brookmeyer - Kenny Wheeler Island [Artists House]
*Brian Browne Blue Browne [Sea Jam]
Allen Eager In The Land of Oo-Bla-Dee [Uptown | Fusion III]
John Hicks Fatha's Day [High Note | Fusion III]
Sheila Jordan Little Song [High Note | Fusion III]
Joe Lovano On This Day [Blue Note | EMI]
Martial Solal Live at the Village Vanguard [Blue Note | EMI]
Lennie Tristano Intuition [Proper Box | SRI]
LEN'S CHRISTMAS GIFT SUGGESTIONS
In the Yuletide spirit, there are Kenny Burrell's Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas (Verve), Joe Sealy and Paul Novotny with The Man in the Red Suit (Sea Jam), Eric Reed's Merry Magic (MaxJazz) and the Christmas for Lovers compilation from Verve.
Box sets are always nice and the inexpensive Proper Box label from England has recent four-CD sets from Art Tatum, Johnny Hodges, Lennie Tristano, Sonny Stitt and Bix Beiderbecke as well a doubles in their Proper Pair series by Kay Starr, Dave Brubeck, Art Pepper and Jay McShann. There's also the "deluxe" edition of John Coltrane's A Love Supreme on two discs on Impulse and Four Women, a three-disc Nina Simone set on Verve.
Under "buy Canadian" we have P.S. I Love You [La Factrie] from Dorothee Berryman with the likes of Eric Harding and Greg Clayton on board, Lost in the Stars by Guido Basso (CBC), Rob McConnell's Music of the Twenties (Justin Time), trumpeter Jake Wilkinson's This Time (JW), pianist Brian Dickinson's Quartet featuring the marvellous Jerry Bergonzi can be found on Soul Mission [Elan Jazz] and the self-titled release from Mike King's Swing Dynamique (PK).
Trad fans will like Jack Teagarden's Muskrat Ramble (Just a Memory) and the Rosenberg's Tribute to Django (EmArcy). The Five Blind Boys of Alabama's I Saw the Light (Liquid) is for the gospel fan and sax fanciers will applaud when Phil Urso & Carl Saunders Salute Chet Baker (Jazzed Media). There are also Lee Konitz and Alan Broadbent with Live-Lee (Milestone) and Charles McPherson's Live at the Cellar (Cellar Live). Steve Kuhn's Love Walked In (Sunnyside) will appeal to the keyboard fan, as will Quickening by Frank Kimbrough (OmniTone) and Autumn [Sharp Nine] by David Hazeltine. For the vocal fan, try This Time (Le Chant du Monde) by David Linx, a great new singer, or the new Manhattan Transfer, Couldn't Be Hotter (Telarc), and the superb Together Again (Concord) is a reissue of a 1967 duo set by Tony Bennett and Bill Evans. As well there's Love Locked Out [MaxJazz] by Patti Wicks, International Incident [33 Jazz] by the wonderful Deborah Brown, My Gentleman Friend [Verve] a Blossom Dearie reissue, Renee Marie's Live at Jazz Standard [MaxJazz] which includes a cut that combines Ravel's Bolero with Leonard Cohen's Suzanne and All Love , a vocal CD by drummer Grady Tate. Not to forget the trumpet fan, how about Jeremy Pelt's Close to My Heart (MaxJazz), Three for One (Nagel Heyer) featuring Claudio Roditi, or >From My Heart (GJQ) by the (Mario) Guarnieri Jazz Quartet with Pete Magadini on drums.
For six-string fanciers there are Larry Coryell's The Power Trio (High Note) plus a two-CD Tal Farlow set, Complete 1956 Private Recordings (Definitive), and for the large ensemble follower there are Blue Jazz by Malachi Thompson's Africa Brass (Delmark), the Mark-Anthony Turnage/John Scofield release Scorched (Deutsche Grammophon), Mark Masters' The Clifford Brown Project [Capri] features solos from people like Tim Hagan and Gary Smulyan and Spirit of the Horn [mcg Jazz] is by Slide Hampton's World of Trombones with Bill Watrous notably featured. Shop early and happy holidays !
© Len Dobbin 2003
Montreal, Quebec, Canada