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on 10 April 2003
Sheila Jordan’s grandfather, of Cherokee descent, nicknamed her Little Song, thus supplying the new release with a title, as well as character (or, rather, characteristics): The opening Little Song/Blackbird incorporates an Indian (as in Native-American) chant that also concludes the disk, whilst Deep Tango offers a true ear-opener, when a chant dissolves into the tango rhythm.
At 75, Jordan has a voice like no other, which was true when I first happened to hear her, 24 years ago, in Steve Swallow’s brilliant “Home”. Since that time her voice has aged, indeed, but only in the same sense as Cognac ages in barrels – it’s better and fuller now and has a bigger bouquet of flavours.
Autumn In New York is a showcase of luscious, lush sumptuousness, sax-like whispers and masterly reading, not to mention Tom Harell’s wonderful horn. Same can be and shall be said of the rest of this disk, be it the livelier Barbados, with its tongue-in-chick chic suave scatting; the easy-going out-of-sleeve-pulled nonchalance of If I Should lose You; or the bitter-sweet Hello Young Lovers, where Jordan sounds like a jazz-sage who can really and truly advice the young, but then switches to her innocent child timbre. What a compelling voice!
This is smooth, middle of the road jazz for all tastes, but none of the players of the Steve Kuhn trio (David Finck - bass, Billy Drummond - drums) stay in that middle for too long or reach for the banal. Rather, it seems they constantly have a cunning plan, milord. Same goes for Jordan, one of the best vocalists there is and was.
A charmer.
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