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Sheila Jordan
Music has the power to change lives. Just ask legendary jazz singer Sheila Jordan, whose life was forever altered when she heard a Charlie Parker record.

“I was an unhappy kid from a home with alcoholism and poverty, and sang as a way to deal with that,” says Jordan. Named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2012, Jordan spent her childhood in a hardscrabble coal-mining town in Pennsylvania until she and her mother moved to Detroit. It was there that she had her jazz epiphany.

Hearing Parker’s “Now’s The Time,” she was hooked. “I never knew about that kind of music,” she said by phone from New York. “I heard the heart of his music immediately. Just the sound and depth of it moved me.”

Still in her teens, she sneaked into nightclubs to hear Parker play, and sing for him, when the saxophonist came to Detroit. She began singing in clubs and hanging out with black musicians, earning disapproval from the white community. Nevertheless, she persisted, as jazz had become her life. 514 247 0706
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