“Her ballad performances are simply beyond the emotional and expressive capabilities of most other vocalists.” (New York Times)
Born in Detroit on the same day that Mickey Mouse made his debut — November 18, 1928 — Sheila Jordan began singing as a child and was working semi-professionally in Detroit clubs by the time she was in her teens. Her first great influence and mentor was saxophonist Charlie Parker. Working chiefly with Black musicians, she was often met with disapproval from the white community but persisted with her career, making her first recordings in the early 1960s. Her musical career took off in the late 1980s when she left her job as a typist and began devoting herself full-time to music. Jordan, named an NEA Jazz Master in 2011, is one of the premier stylists in jazz, a superb scat singer whose unique musical trademarks, such as frequent and unexpected sweeping changes of pitch, still confound an uninitiated audience. She spent her 90th birthday in London during a 25-day European tour where she performed in seven countries. This incredible singer returns home for her UMS debut a few months after her 92nd birthday.