Watch the video above to learn more about this project.
For about five years, I have been working with jazz legend Sheila
Jordan on her life story, collecting massive hours of interviews with
her and other jazz luminaries. Her biography is not only about the life
of a jazz singer but about a 20th-century woman who persevered despite
tremendous obstacles in her path.
ABOUT SHEILA JORDAN
Sheila Jordan is one of the last living legends of the jazz vocal world. At 83, she continues to sing and share her message all over the world, touching audiences with her soulful and stirring renditions of standards and classic jazz bebop. As music critic Robert Palmer raved in the New York Times, “Her performances are simply beyond the emotional and expressive capabilities of most other vocalists.”
Raised by her grandparents in a Pennsylvania coal-mining town, Jordan experienced poverty first-hand. Returning to her birthplace of Detroit, Michigan, in her teens, she experienced the joys and struggles of her devotion to the bebop music of her inimitable guru, Charlie "Bird” Parker.
Following her dream, she moved to New York in the early 1950s and lived the life of a jazz musician, hanging out with some of the greatest musicians of our time: Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, and many others.
As a woman who experienced the ugliness of racial discrimination by being in a biracial marriage with a biracial child, Jordan never failed to find the courage to defend her black brothers and sisters. As a single mother, she raised her daughter by working a day job while pursuing her musical aspirations amid the darkness of the alcohol and drug abuse that surrounded the music scene. Her own recovery allowed her to keep sharing her music and message internationally through live performances and educational workshops.
This year, by receiving the NEA Jazz Masters Award at Lincoln Center, she was finally recognized as one of the premier jazz luminaries.
She is, for some of us, a mentor who has enriched our lives forever.
Press links and videos for Sheila Jordan:
New York Times
NEA Jazz Masters Biio
NEA Jazz Masters Video
Sheila Jordan Website
WHY I'M WRITING THE BOOK
Number one - Because Sheila Jordan wanted me to tell her story the way she wants it to be told, and I am honoring that request.
Number two - Because I want to tell this story! It's close to my heart because I have loved Sheila Jordan and her innovative style since the first time I heard her bass and voice duets. I also believe her story deals with important issues related to women, racial discrimination, and addiction. Her story is one of hope and determination and the accomplishments of a courageous person fulfilling a dream while keeping alive the message of the great American art form of jazz.
Number three - I've been in the process of sharing this story for the last 7 years by collecting hundreds of hours of content with Sheila, including interviews with personal relationships and iconic jazz figures, some who have already passed away. Excerpts have been shared in the past with Downbeat, JazzHistoryOnline.com, Singer and Musician Magazine, and others.
ABOUT THE PROJECT & THE TECHNOLOGY
We decided this book should be as innovative as Sheila Jordan. So this unique book project will be created in a revolutionary new digital media production, delivered as an app for iPads and Android tablets, and it will include the digital book with pictures, video, and music that come to life in a truly immersive and interactive experience like you've never seen before.
If you don’t have a tablet device for this app, it will also be available in a traditional layout as either a printed or Kindle book on Amazon.com. We estimate that the project will take six to nine months to complete, including book contents, videos, pictures, interviews, and other relevant content.
This project will be created with the latest Digital Publishing
technology from Adobe.com that is revolutionizing the world of rich media
delivery on portable devices like the iPad, Samsung Galaxy and Motorola
Early publications developed with this emerging technology have been
short periodic in nature such as Martha Stewart Living and the National
Geographic, but this will be one of the first full-length media books
ever published specifically with this process in mind - not merely a
digital conversion of a printed book format.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
My partner, Jeff Foster, will be doing the technology and production for this digital media project. Jeff is an internationally published author of several computer technology, animation, video production, and VFX books. He is an award-winning producer and VFX artist and is a nationally recognized speaker in his industry. He is aptly positioned with the technology and software developers to produce cutting-edge media delivered on the latest platforms. For more detailed information about Jeff, go to: www.pixelpainter.com or www.soundvisionsmedia.com.
Jeff will also be documenting the entire design and development
process all the way through to publishing and distribution for an
instructional video series for video2brain.com.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Please help us fund this project in whatever way you can so we can spread Sheila’s story and message to the world, the way she wants it to be delivered!
The money we raise will not only go to supporting my work of interviewing and writing, but will pay for production costs to record and edit audio and video interviews; equipment rentals; layout and production of the printed book and Kindle version with images; layout, production, and programming of the media-rich DPS (Digital Publishing System) apps for iPads and Android tablets; publishing and development fees; transcription fees, book design, proofreading, editing, copyright fees, printing of the books, and postage to send them to backers.
I’ve already started the interviews and research and developed the chapters, so I anticipate that completing it should take about six to nine more months, plus time to get the digital book produced and printed.
If you’re not familiar with it, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing model; if I don’t reach my goal by the end of the fundraising month, your account will not be charged for your pledge.
I hope that you will not only help us with funding this very important project but encourage others to pledge, too.
Sheila and I thank you for keeping the jazz message alive!
Book cover photo - Brian McMillian (with permission)
Video footage - Jeff Foster and Cade Bursell (with permission)
NEA Photo - Cameron Brown (with permission)