Tonight and only tonight at the Blue Note, jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan and pianist Steve Kuhn join forces for an unforgettable performance. Old friends and longtime collaborators, these two artists will perform an intimate evening of duo in celebration of Jordan's 84th birthday.
One of the premier singers in jazz, Jordan is known for both her scatting prowess and her emotive treatment of jazz ballads. She began her career in New York in the early '50s, singing in clubs and at jam sessions with some of the city's jazz giants, including Charles Mingus, Herbie Nichols, and Charlie Parker (she ultimately married Parker's pianist, Duke Jordan). Shortly after making her recorded debut with George Russell, Jordan released her solo debut, Portrait of Sheila Jordan (1963), on Blue Note Records, making her first female vocalist to record for the label. By the late '70s, jazz audiences began to understand her uncompromising style, and her popularity has been blossoming ever since.
In addition to her work as a performer, Jordan is also a renowned educator, having served as a faculty member at the City College of New York and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Just this year, she was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts as a Jazz Master, a recognition of her inimitable contributions to the art form. Her latest release, Winter Sunshine, came out in 2008.
Over a career of a half-century and counting, Steve Kuhn has earned renown as one of the most lyrical and affecting pianists in jazz, with an unfailingly beautiful touch and a sophisticated sense of swing. Having worked with John Coltrane early in his career, he boasts an impressive resume that also includes extensive collaborations with titans like Stan Getz, Al Foster, Ron Carter, Eddie Gomez, Joey Baron, and more. He's also maintained a longstanding relationship with Manfred Eicher, the founder and producer for ECM records – a partnership that has produced a justly acclaimed series of recordings, the latest of which is Wisteria (2012).
Of course, Kuhn has also enjoyed a longstanding musical relationship with Jordan that stretches back to the '70s. The pair's recordings together include Playground (1979), Last Year's Waltz (1981), Jazz Child (1998), Little Song (2002), and Life's Backward Glances (2009). Considering the depth and length of their friendship, there is certainly no better pianist to help Jordan celebrate her birthday.
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