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September 2005

Sheila Jordan
Confirmation
Test of Time

Having more than a decade pass between first and second albums amounts to bad luck, bad management, bad reception or incredible self-discipline. In the case of Sheila Jordan’s cheekily titled Confirmation, released 12 years after her stellar 1963 Blue Note debut, Portrait of Sheila Jordan, it is unquestionably the latter. Determined never to dilute her jazz purity (a promise she’s kept for more than 40 years), Jordan chose to wait until the circumstances were precisely right for a follow-up rather than settle for a sophomore effort she considered less than perfect.

The results—eight tracks cleverly divided between songs themed around childhood and a quartet of tunes of a decidedly more mature (and significantly less intrinsically optimistic) nature—proved not only that Jordan possessed the interpretive intelligence of Carmen McRae, the vocalese oomph of Annie Ross and scat prowess of Mel Tormé but that, when you put them all together, she could run rings around just about anybody in the business. If Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and Peggy Lee were solid platinum, then Jordan was (and is) crafted of something even more precious. Uranium. Or plutonium. Or, given her musical superpowers, kryptonite.

Originally published in September 2005
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