wraps up Taichung
Jazz Fest with class
By Douglas Habecker Translated
by Liu Fang through
It seems very appropriate that this
year's multifaceted Taichung Jazz Festival will close
out with an artist whose experience with the genre covers
a large part of the 20th century. On the evening of
Nov. 6, Sheila Jordan, known as one of the most creative
jazz singers in the world, will treat listeners to her
amazing repertoir of music, which ranges from scat and
bebop to her emotional renderings of ballads.
Jordan often remarks that jazz saved
her life. Born in Detroit in 1928, she spent most of
her childhood in a poverty-stricken, coal-mining Pennsylvania
town. At the age of 12, she discovered jazz by chance
while visiting her mother in Detroit and soon became
obsessed with the music of Charlie "Yardbird"
Parker, her great early influence. Moving to New York
in the '50s, she continued her pursuit of "Bird"
and his music. The two eventually became friends, even
as she later married his piano player, Duke Jordan,
studied with Lennie Tristano and worked New York clubs.
In 1962, she became one of the few singers to lead her
own Blue Note album, and also recorded on "The
Outer View with George Russell", which includes
a famous 10-minute version of "You Are My Sunshine".
In the following decades, she has continued
her passion for teaching, as well as performing and
recording with a wide range of artists. This includes
an album with pianist Steve Kuhn and "Home",
made up of a selection of Robert Creeley's poems set
to music. A 1983 release with bassist Harvie Swartz,
"Old Time Feeling", includes many of her live
repertoir standards, while her 1989 "Lost and Found"
release plays tribute to her bebop roots. Other releases
since then have included "One for Junior"
with Mark Murphy, "Heart Strings" (1993),
and "Jazz Child" (1998).
Her exceptional musical gifts, which
includes the rare talent of improvising logical lyrics
which often rhyme, are showcased in her unique style,
which includes frequent, unexpected sweeping changes
of pitch which can surprise new audiences. For Taiwan
music afiocionados of all types, Sheila Jordan is an
opportunity that can't be missed.
The three-week Taichung Jazz Festival will take place
over three weekends with dozens of international and
jazz artists. The festival kicks off on October 22-23.
Jordan's Sunday, Nov. 6 performance at 8:30 p.m. will
take place with the Serge Forte Trio on the main stage
at Peoples' Square. For more information, check www.taiwanfun.com
or the official festival website at http://www.jazzfestival.com.tw