Her latest CD, "Yesterdays" (HighNote), features Ms. Jordan alongside bassist Harvie S. Recorded live in concert circa 1990, the tapes turned up one day and we are so lucky they did. The duo recorded 3 Lps/CDs in their decade+ association but none with the warmth, the experimentation and the musicality that this program. All of their recordings are worth hearing but this one is a necessity. Bassist S manages to be an "orchestra" behind the voice, his thick tones and fleet lines serving as both support and equal partner. They "rock" out on "It Don't Mean A Thing" then make "Mood Indigo" a very deep hue of the blues. Their playful take of "The Very Thought Of You" moves beyond the lyrics into a personal story of the singer being told by critic Leonard Feather taking her task for not singing the melody.
There is so much to like here, from the title track that opens the CD as a longing paean to "olden days, golden days" (Harvie S's bass chords are wonderful) to the "Fred Astaire Medley" that closes the program. The duo blaze through "Let's Face The Music and Dance" before their playful take of "Cheek to Cheek" ending with an absolutely jovial (and operatic!) version of "I Could Have Danced All Night"; Ms. Jordan collapses in laughter at the end, a splendid exclamation point to an excellent set.
If you don't own a Sheila Jordan recording and claim to be a fan of jazz vocalists, you should be ashamed. "Yesterdays" is one of her best and a good place to start. To find out more, go to www.sheilajordanjazz.com.
One hears traces of Americana in the melody of the title track (Rueckert's drumming is pleasingly interactive) while the trio's version of Cole Porter's "So In Love" is a musical celebration of a fiery romance. Here, Penman's bass pushes the piece forward, spurring the pianist on to one of his more "high-energy" solos. There is plenty of playfulness in this music, whether it's the bluesy, Ornette Coleman-like, melody of "By Hook or By Crook" to the funky sprint through "Git It" (again, Rueckert's drumming is quite a joy to listen to.)
The sounds emanating from the minds, hands and feet of Sam Yahel, Matt Penman and Jochen Rueckert is a true pleasure. "From Sun to Sun" is bright and joyous music, well worth exploring. To find out more, go to www.origin-records.com. FYI, Sam Yahel sits with Josh Jackson on the 1/31 edition of "The Checkout" and plays the "iPod Shuffle" - check it out at by clicking here.
Bynum, his former student and long-time friend, has assembled recordings and radio broadcasts for the fine music blog, "Destination Out." Part 1 is up now - it's a well-deserved (and long overdue) look at the man, his music and fascinating journey. Give a look and listen at destination-out.com.