EFG London Jazz Festival 2022

Sheila Jordan with Ray Gallon Trio

PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

Sheila Jordan is one of the most consistently creative of all jazz singers. She is one of the few vocalists who can improvise coherent lyrics, which often rhyme. She is also a superb scat singer, and a deeply expressive interpreter of ballads. In the 1950s, she married pianist Duke Jordan and worked in New York clubs. She recorded a version of "You Are My Sunshine" with George Russell, and she became one of the few singers to lead her own Blue Note album in 1962. She has appeared on other critically acclaimed records with Carla Bley, Roswell Rudd, and co-leading a group with Steve Kuhn in the late '70s. She appears on these London dates with a trio led by her colleague and friend, New Yorker Ray Gallon; an exquisite pianist with an original style, known for his work with such luminaries as Ron Carter, Lionel Hampton, Art Farmer, Benny Golson and George Adams.

£30.00

"Her ballad performances are simply beyond the emotional and expressive capabilities of most other vocalists."

New York Times

Book tickets for Sheila Jordan with Ray Gallon Trio

Sheila Jordan

Raised in poverty in Pennsylvania's coal-mining country, Jordan began singing as a child and by the time she was in her early teens was working semi-professionally in Detroit clubs. Her first great influence was Charlie Parker and, indeed, most of her influences have been instrumentalists rather than singers. Working chiefly with black musicians, she met with disapproval from the white community but persisted with her career. She was a member of a vocal trio, Skeeter, Mitch And Jean (she was Jean), who sang versions of Parker's solos in a manner akin to that of the later Lambert, Hendricks And Ross.

After moving to New York in the early 50s, she married Parker's pianist, Duke Jordan, and studied with Lennie Tristano, but it was not until the early 60s that she made her first recordings. One of these was under her own name, the other was “The Outer View” with George Russell, which featured a famous 10-minute version of "You Are My Sunshine".

In the mid-60s her work encompassed jazz liturgies sung in churches and extensive club work, but her appeal was narrow even within the confines of jazz. By the late 70s jazz audiences had begun to understand her uncompromising style a little more and her popularity increased - as did her appearances on record, which included albums with pianist Steve Kuhn, whose quartet she joined, and an album, Home, comprising a selection of Robert Creeley's poems set to music and arranged by Steve Swallow.

A 1983 duo set with bassist Harvie Swartz, “Old Time Feeling”, comprises several of the standards Jordan regularly features in her live repertoire, while 1990's “Lost And Found” pays tribute to her bebop roots. Both sets display her unique musical trademarks, such as the frequent and unexpected sweeping changes of pitch, which still tend to confound an uninitiated audience. Her preference to the bass and voice set led to another remarkable collaboration with bassist Cameron Brown, whom she has been performing with all over the world for more than ten years so far and they have released the live albums “I’ve Grown Accustomed to the Bass” and “Celebration”. Entirely non-derivative, Jordan is one of only a tiny handful of jazz singers who fully deserve the appellation and for whom no other term will do.

Ray Gallon

A NYC-native, pianist Ray Gallon has been a mainstay on the jazz scene for over thirty years. Rooted in bebop and blues, his expressive, swingin’ playing melds old and new into a fresh, original style. As a young player, Ray was taken under the wing of piano giants John Lewis, Hank Jones, and Jaki Byard. He has performed at major jazz festivals and venues around the world with such luminaries as Ron Carter, Lionel Hampton, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, George Adams, Les Paul, and Wycliffe Gordon. Ray has appeared at the White House and the Kennedy Center, sharing the stage with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Sweets Edison, and Joe Williams. An in-demand accompanist, he has worked with many vocal greats, including Jon Hendricks, Sheila Jordan, Dakota Staton, Gloria Lynne, Jane Monheit and Chaka Khan. Ray's inventive compositions have been recorded by acclaimed artists T.S. Monk and George Adams. His latest trio album, "Make Your Move", features the stellar rhythm section of David Wong and Kenny Washington. Ray is a full-time faculty member of the jazz program at The City College of NY in Harlem and the Vermont Jazz Center’s summer workshops and has taught at Juilliard and The New School.

Band Line Up

Sheila Jordan (vocals)

Ray Gallon (piano)

Mark Hodgson (bass)

Stephen Keogh (drums)