New York City, January 25, 2018) —Internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan will be honored at the 33rd Annual Bistro Awards on Monday, March 12, with an award for her Outstanding Contributions to the Art of Jazz. One of her main influences, legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker, dubbed her “the singer with the million dollar ears.”
Jordan began singing as a child, and by her early teens she was working semi-professionally in Detroit clubs. She was a member of the vocal trio Skeeter, Mitch, and Jean (she was Jean), which did vocal versions of Parker’s solos, à la Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. After moving to New York in the early '50s, she married Parker’s pianist, Duke Jordan, and studied with Lennie Tristano.
She began her recording career in the early '60s, and a few years later her work expanded to include jazz liturgies sung in churches and extensive club appearances. By the late ‘70s, audiences had begun to embrace her uncompromising style, and her popularity grew, leading to more recordings with a variety of renowned jazz instrumentalists. Her unique vocal trademarks, including her ability to improvise lyrics and unexpected sweeping changes of pitch, were on full display. Her longtime preference for bass and voice led to her collaboration with bassist Cameron Brown, with whom she has been performing internationally for over 20 years.
As an educator, she was an Artist-in-Residence at the City University of New York, where she taught from 1978 to 2005. She also taught at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the Vermont Jazz Center, and she continues to lead workshops.
Ms. Jordan is the recipient of a 2006 MAC Award for Lifetime Achievement, a 2007 Humanitarian Award from the International Association for Jazz Education. a 2008 Lifetime in Service Award from Women in Jazz, and the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship. Published in 2014, Jazz Child: A Portrait of Sheila Jordan by Ellen Johnson was described by the Huffington Post as a "truly American success story."
The Bistro Awards gala will be held on Monday, March 12 at 6:30 pm at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd St., produced by Sherry Eaker, who has headed up the event since its inception.
A full list of winners will be announced at the end of the month, when tickets will go on sale at