Art Works Blog

Art Works Podcast: Sheila Jordan

This week's podcast is the perfect bridge between Women’s History Month and Jazz Appreciation Month: it’s a conversation with legendary singer and 2012 NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan. Jordan grew up with her grandparents in Pennsylvania’s coal-mining country. In high school, after she joined her mother in Detroit, she heard a recording of Charlie Parker, which changed her life. From that moment, she knew she wanted to spend her life in jazz. Incredibly enough, she did. After moving to New York City, Jordan sang in clubs and at jam sessions with some of the city's jazz giants, including Charles Mingus, Herbie Nichols, and Charlie Parker himself. To keep the wolf from her door, Jordan worked for years as a secretary in an advertising firm, yet managed to keep music in her life by singing in clubs and churches and through teaching.

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