Sheila Jordan: The Very Thought of You
The Very Thought of You
Sheila Jordan (vocals)
Lost and Found (Muse 5390)
Composed by Ray Noble.
Recorded: New York, September 28-29, 1989
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
Sheila Jordan will turn 80 on November 18, 2008, and still awaits the kind of recognition she has deserved throughout her long career. Perhaps her unconventional, risk-taking singing style has held her back over the years, although her contemporary and fellow Detroit native Betty Carter, sporting a similarly original approach, managed to finally attract a wide audience in her 50s after years of struggle and neglect. Whatever the case, Jordan, who studied with Lennie Tristano, sat in with Bird, and later recorded with George Russell, has produced one provocative album after another since her classic debut Portrait of Sheila in 1962. Yet for many years, she held down a secretarial day job just to make ends meet.
This version of "The Very Thought of You," which she recorded at the age of 60, finds her definitely in a Betty Carter frame of mind. Beginning with only Swartz's alternately walking and prancing basslines, Jordan elongates words and alters pitches at will. As Barron and Riley chip in, she exudes a girlish charm while at the same time exhibiting an obviously mature control, toying with the rhythm and hitting effectively slurred low notes when least expected. Barron's scampering solo seems inspired by Jordan's compelling quirkiness. The singer next trades masterfully with Riley, her scatting as always highly musical and unaffected. She then reprises the lyrics, sometimes nearly in falsetto to contrast with her richer natural voice. This is a teasing, knowing, unassailable interpretation from start to finish.
Reviewer: Scott Albin