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Sheila Jordan and Cameron Brown: I’ve Grown Accustomed to the Bass

There are female singers that have broader ranges, sing more loudly, have sweeter timbres and are more acrobatic than Sheila Jordan, but few have ap-proached her vocal accomplishments. That’s because she’s a superb all-around musician and improviser. And she takes care of herself. She was 68 when this High Note album was cut, but she sounds young. Her altering of melodies is fresh and unpredictable, and her scatted lines, as on “I Got Rhythm/Listen to Monk,” are substantive. And she’s got an infectious sense of humor.

Jordan has a thing about performing duets with bass players. She did a duo with Charlie Mingus in Toledo in 1955 and hasn’t quit, recording with Arild Anderson, Harvie Swartz, and now Cameron Brown. I’ve Grown Accustomed to the Bass includes several vocalese performances: “Dat Dere,” “Quasimodo,” “Goodbye Porkpie Hat.” “Mourning Song” is a wordless selection that has something in common with Native American music.

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