For as long as she’s been singing, Sheila Jordan has had a predilection, rather unique among vocalists, for seeking out bass players as solo accompanists. Early on, when married to Charlie Parker’s pianist, Duke Jordan, she’d often practice duets with bassist Peter Ind. And in a particularly famous instance, Charles Mingus once invited her onstage to join him on “Yesterdays.” Jordan has even theorized that she might have been a bass player in a former life.
In this lifetime, the recently crowned Jazz Master’s longest-running partnership with a bassist was her 14 years, from the early 1980s through the mid-’90s, with Harvie Swartz (now known as Harvie S). Together they recorded three studio albums. Excellent as they are, Harvie was never satisfied with them, citing inferior recording conditions. He sees the release of this early ’90s live date (at an unspecified location) as vindication.
On these 12 tracks, Jordan is in exceptional voice and form—coy, playful and improvising up a (subtle) storm—and Harvie responds in dazzling kind. Though Yesterdays is best experienced as a whole, it is impossible not to single out their “Lazy Afternoon,” of which a more keenly intuitive rendition does not exist.