Sheila Jordan has an instantly identifiable sound. But her singing, though idiosyncratic, isn’t just that. Saturday night, when I heard her perform at Chicago’s Green Mill, her musical language—her elastic phrasing, her sliding pitches, her often off-center approach to harmony—was so clear and vivid that, by the end of the second set, I felt as though I was hearing the world through her ears.
Sheila Jordan, “The Water Is Wide,” live, Paris, 2003 (75th birthday concert)
“The main thing is the feeling, and that comes across no matter what she [Sheila Jordan] does. In terms of instruments, maybe her instrument—her voice—is not as great as some. It doesn’t really matter. She sings one note and you know it’s Sheila. Unfortunately there are very, very, very few singers left now who are really unique. And she’s one of the last ones.”—Steve Kuhn
Want more? Here’s a review I wrote, many years ago, of another of Sheila’s performances, also at the Green Mill, for the Chicago Reader.