Sheila Jordan: with the Ambassadors of Light Jazz Trio & the Brattleboro Music Center String Quartet
A Vermont Jazz Center Production - Latchis Theater, Brattleboro, VT June 3rd, 2006 - 8:00 PM - Heart Felt

By Nicolas Dauplay

Sheila Jordan appeared in a rare setting on Saturday, June 3rd at 8:00 when she presented a concert at the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro, accompanied not only by a customary jazz trio, but by a string quartet as well. Jordan appeared with the jazz trio called "the Ambassadors of Light," and a string quartet made up of faculty from the Brattleboro Music Center. Also featured that evening was guest soloist, Howard Brofsky on cornet.

Sheila Jordan has often sang at events benefiting the Vermont Jazz Center. For a long time she had expressed a desire to perform using some beautiful string arrangements that had been prepared for her by the internationally acclaimed composer/pianist Alan Broadbent. Although she had recorded them in 1993 on a project called "Heart Strings," with the Hiraga Quartet, the opportunity to present the arrangements live in public has been all too rare. Knowing that Brattleboro was a community with a rich tradition of Western Classical Music, Sheila Jordan presented her concept of fusing jazz's language and sense of swing with the timbre of a classical string quartet and was met with a warm, positive response from members of both the VJC and the BMC. The date was set for June 3rd.

Sheila Jordan performed this concert with musicians she has known and played with for over a decade. Pianist Eugene Uman, bassist Jamie MacDonald and drummer Claire Arenius have worked for many years as Jordan's accompanists at the VJC Summer Workshop.

They have worked with Sheila Jordan long enough to understand the delicate balance of working with a singer who has great sense of time and who emphasizes dynamic shading during the delivery of a song.

The BMC String Quartet includes violinist, Kathy Andrew, Michelle Liechti, Claudia Campazzo on viola and cellist, Zon Eastes.

The show started with an introduction by Sheila Jordan, the legendary singer took to the stage and lyrically introduced the trio with the great lyrical improvisations she is known for and then sang to the crowd already by this stage she had the crowd in the palm of her hand.

Sheila Jordan opened the set with 'Haunted Heart' and performed the song with a delicacy that could only be provided by this sweet marriage of Sheila Jordan's own voice and strings, this interpretation was breathtakingly beautiful. Already at this point it was clear that the strings were truly a natural compliment to Sheila Jordan's gentle, translucent, slightly breathy voice. The next highlight came when Sheila Jordan sang 'If I should Loose you' and you could tell she knew most of Birds solo's as she voiced her way around the tune as if channeling Bird's sax. I must also point out the great exchange between Sheila Jordan and Howard Brofsky cornet where Sheila Jordan matched Howard's cornet with such playful ease. The medley of Inchworm/The Caterpillar Song was just wonderful and makes me regret that Sheila Jordan's CD 'Heart Strings' is no longer available. The balance of the evening consisted of other songs from the elusive album as well as some of Sheila Jordan's favorites such as 'So wonderfull to be me' and 'All Gods Children' I thoroughly enjoyed the concert and can only thank the artist that Sheila Jordan is for still giving so much during the show.