Sheila Jordan (born Sheila Jeanette Dawson November 18, 1928 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American Jazz singer and songwriter. Sheila Jordan grew up in Summerhill, Pennsylvania before returning to her birthplace in 1940/41 playing the piano and singing semi-professionally in Detroit clubs. She was influenced by Charlie Parker and was part of a trio called Skeeter, Mitch and Jean (she was Jean) which composed lyrics to Parker's Arrangements.
Sheila Jordan grew up in Summerhill, Pennsylvania before returning to her birthplace in 1940/41 playing the piano and singing semi-professionally in Detroit clubs. She was influenced by Charlie Parker and was part of a trio called Skeeter, Mitch and Jean (she was Jean) which composed lyrics to Parker's Arrangements.
In 1951 she moved to New York and started studying harmony and music theory taught by Lennie Tristano and Charles Mingus. From 1952 to 1962 she was married to the Parker's pianist Duke Jordan. (SteepleChase) In the early 1960?s she had gigs and sessions in the Page Three Club in Greenage Village and was working in different clubs and bars in New York. In 1962 she was discovered by George Russell (Blue Note) who did a recording of the song "You Are My Sunshine" with her on his album Outer View (Riverside). Later that year she recorded the Portrait of Sheila album (recorded in September 19th and October 12th, 1962) which was sold to Blue Note.
Later in the decade she sang jazz liturgies in different churches such as Cornell and Princeton, NYC. Jordan played with Don Heckman (1967-68), Lee Konitz (1972), Roswell Rudd (1972-75) and began her long working relationship with Steve Kuhn around this time.
In 1974 she was "Artist in Residence" at the City College and was teaching there in 1975. On the 12th of July 1975 she recorded "Confirmation". One year later she did the duet album simply called Sheila with Arild Andersen (Bass) for SteepleChase in the end of 1976. In 1979 she founded a quartet with Kuhn, Harvie Swartz and Bob Moses. During the 1980?s she was working with Harvie Swartz as a duo and played on several records with him. Until 1987 she worked in an advertising agency and recorded Lost and Found in 1989.
Sheila Jordan is also a songwriter and is able to work in both bebob and free jazz. In addition to the musicians referred to, she has recorded with the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band (TCB, ECM), Harvie Swartz (MA Recordings), Carla Bley and Steve Swallow. In addition to Blue Note her led recordings issued by for Eastwind, Grapevine, SteepleChase, Palo Alto, Blackhawk and Muse