“I was born the same day, the same year cartoon character Mickey Mouse was created…Nov. 18.”
On Saturday, November 18 at 7 p.m., the eminent jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan will be celebrating her 95th birthday. She will be singing as part of a special salute from Kolstein, located at 153 West 58th Street off of 7th Avenue, one minute from Carnegie Hall.
“I will be performing with two of my favorite jazz bassists, Harvie S and Ronnie Ben Hur — both of them well-known,” Jordan said. Among the music, this trio will be playing include “Autumn In New York”, “Dat Dere”, “The Touch Of Your Lips”, and “Sheila’s Blues,” one of about a dozen music pieces Jordan wrote.
“I wrote ‘Sheila’s Blues’ about 25 years ago because people from the audience kept asking me where I came from…so if I close with the blues—they know, and then we are able to talk about another subject,” said Jordan
A Detroit native, Jordan was drawn to NYC when she was eighteen, wanting to meet her idol, jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker (who became an American legend). She married Parker’s celebrated pianist, Duke Jordan. (Sheila Jordan’s daughter, Tracey is a Sirius XM executive.) More than fifty years ago Jordan purchased a Chelsea Manhattan apartment, where she still lives.
“However, I have traveled and performed all over the globe, and I am scheduled well into 2024 with visits to Italy, Germany, England—and Vermont,” Jordan said.
For more than twenty years right after July 4, Jordan has conducted a jazz vocal workshop for the Vermont Jazz Center on the campus of The Putney School, Putney, Vermont. Pianist-Composer John Lewis of his famous Modern Jazz Quartet, recommended Sheila for a music teaching gig at City University of New York in 1972. “Their faculty had a jazz music teacher but no jazz vocal teacher like me,” she explains.
Turning 95 at Kolstein’s Sheila declares how: “Music has kept me in good health and alive. I love singing with jazz bass players because their accompaniment allows my voice a range of freedom, improvisation, and experimentation,” she describes.
Jordan’s vocal heroines have been Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald.
“Ella was the finest scat singer who ever lived,” Jordan said. “I’m frustrated how jazz, with its origin from African-American blues singers was never given the proper status, acceptance, and recognition in America when compared to other music.”
Every week, Jordan can be found practicing, rehearsing, and meeting up with her fellow musicians and arrangers. She has received many major music industry awards throughout her career. “I’m still waiting for my big break!” Jordan said.
“I have always been a Sheila Jordan fan. It’s a privilege through Harvie S. (who is associated with Kolstein), how Sheila is commemorating her 95th at the Kolstein Center. I plan on presenting her with a beautiful cake with all of the trimmings,” said Kolstein President Manny Alvarez.
For ticket information, contact [email protected], or 516-546-9300 (Ace). Alvarez plans on donating some of the proceeds for a scholastic music instrument scholarship.