The music heard on this CD has come to light due to two record dealers from Albuquerque discovering a buried acetate amongst a record collection in New York. As the sleeve note points out, had these tracks been released at the time this would have been Sheila Jordan’s debut album under her own name, preceding the Blue Note disc Portrait Of Sheila by two years. When confronted by the music, she had no recollection as to who the supporting musicians may have been.
All her familiar trademarks are present on these 11 tunes, yet to be truly honed but there, nonetheless. If her wish to sing like Sarah Vaughan may not have been possible, the ability to phrase like a horn player, deliver convincing wordless vocals and bend a piece to the Jordan will, had already started to turn her into one of the ultimate jazz singers.
Amongst these tried and trusted titles are a couple of less obvious choices, I’m The Girl perhaps being a happier option on this occasion than the relatively awkward construction of Ballad Of The Sad Young Men. When it comes to the ballads such as Don’t Explain and These Foolish Things, they are delivered with confidence without the elaboration the singer would employ over the following years. The relatively short renditions of It Don’t Mean A Thing and They Can’t Take That Away From Me are early examples of her ability to swing, which would also manifest itself in the company of many superior musicians in succeeding decades.
If the definition of a jazz singer is still in question, interested parties have never needed to look beyond Sheila Jordan.
I’m The Girl; It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing); Ballad Of The Sad Young Men; Comes Love; Don’t Explain; Sleeping Bee; When The World Was Young; I’ll Take Romance; These Foolish Things; Glad To Be Unhappy; They Can’t Take That Away From Me (34.12)
Sheila Jordan (v) with unknown rhythm section. New York, 10 June 1960.
Capri Records 74164-2