Like a battered trumpet that's lost much of its outer glow but none of its inner, any deterioration in Shelia Jordan's instrument only adds to its richly burnished patina. Rare is the 20-year-old who demonstrate the verve, zest, imagination and plain old free-spirited fun that Jordan can as she approaches 80. Even rarer is he or she who could do so with only a bassist for accompaniment-albeit a damn fine one in Cameron Brown-as she does on this live disc recorded at the Triad in Manhattan on the occasion of Jordan's 76th birthday.
Witness here how she can transform a throwaway tune like "It's You or No One" into five minutes of soaring innovation or use "Blue Skies" as the launching pad for 10 minutes of improvised narrative about Miles Davis and other bebop heroes of her youth, and you'll understand the power and glory of septuagenarian jazz smarts. Here's hoping there will be plenty of the octogenarian Jordan to follow.