“It’s about time that somebody wrote a book about Sheila Jordan…people need to hear something real that’s going to make a difference in their life. This is a message that the world needs.” – Sonny Rollins, Tenor Saxophonist and NEA Jazz Master
JAZZ CHILD: A PORTRAIT OF SHEILA JORDAN
Published by Rowman and Littlefield
Forward by Don Heckman
Cover photo by Brian McMillen
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON: CLICK HERE TO BUY
2015 Jazz Journalists Association Awards Best Book Nomination
#2 Best Book for the JazzTimes Readers Poll 2014
When Sheila Jordan dropped a nickel in the juke box of a Detroit diner in the 1940s and heard “Now’s The Time” by Charlie Parker, she was instantly hooked—and sobegan a seventy-year jazz journey. In 1962, she emerged as the first jazz singer to record on the prestigious Blue Note label with her debut album Portrait of Sheila. Exploding on the jazz scene, this classic work set the bar for her career as an iconic jazz vocalist and mentor to other promising female vocalists. As The New York Times then announced, “Her ballad performances are simply beyond the emotional and expressive capabilities of most other vocalists.”
Jazz Child: A Portrait of Sheila Jordan, as the first complete biography about this remarkable singer’s life, reveals the challenges she confronted, from her growing up poor in a Pennsylvania coal mining town to her rise as a bebop singer in Detroit and New York City during the 1950s to her work as a recording artist and performer under the influence of and in performance with such jazz luminaries as Charlie Parker, George Russell, Lennie Tristano, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, and Thelonious Monk. Jordan’s views as a woman living the jazz life in an era of racial and gender discrimination while surrounded by those often struggling with the twin evils of alcohol and drug abuse are skillfully woven into the tapestry of the tale she tells. With Jordan’s full cooperation, author
Ellen Johnson documents the fascinating career of this jazz great, who stands today as one of the most deeply respected jazz singers and educators. For jazz fans, Johnson’s biography is a testament to a vanishing generation of musicians and her indomitable spirit is an inspiration to all walks of life.
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ABOUT SHEILA JORDAN
Sheila Jordan is one of the last living legends of the jazz vocal world. At 85, she continues to sing and share her message all over the world, touching audiences with her soulful and stirring renditions of standards and classic jazz bebop. In 2012 she was finally recognized as one of the premier jazz luminaries receiving the prestigious NEA Jazz Masters Award at Lincoln Center.
She is, for some of us, a mentor who has enriched our lives forever.
She is for me the essence of jazz music and someone I'm proud to call my friend.