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Jazz Child: The Sheila Jordan Story is an innovative digital media app and book about one of the last living vocal legends of jazz.

Jazz Child: The Sheila Jordan Story is an innovative digital media app and book about one of the last living vocal legends of jazz. Read More
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This project's funding goal was not reached on March 11, 2012.

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About this project

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.


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


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,, Singer and Musician Magazine, and others.


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 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  that is revolutionizing the world of rich media delivery on portable devices like the iPad, Samsung Galaxy and Motorola XOOM.  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.


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: or

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


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)


  • People will be able to get this project in 3 different ways:

    1) As a downloadable digital app (for iPads or Androids) that will include the book story with video, pictures, music and animation. The wave of the future for publishing books and magazines.

    2) As an ebook through Kindle.

    3) As a regular book available on demand through

    Something for everyone!

    Last updated:

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10 USD

    Our eternal thanks! AND added to our mailing list for updates.

    Estimated delivery
    13 backers
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25 USD

    All of the above and mentioned in the designated project Facebook page as a Sheila Jordan "Jazz Child" supporter.

    Estimated delivery
    36 backers
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50 USD

    All of the above plus: A download of the finished digital book app.

    Estimated delivery
    34 backers
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100 USD

    All of the above plus: Listed in the book as a Sheila Jordan "Jazz Child" friend.

    Estimated delivery
    49 backers
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500 USD

    All of the above plus: A hand signed hard copy of the printed book and listed as a Sheila Jordan "Jazz Child" sponsor with your photo (supplied by you).

    Estimated delivery
    4 backers
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000 USD

    All of the above plus: Phone call (Continental US only) from Sheila Jordan personally thanking you for your contribution and a 30 minute Skype session with the producers giving you the behind the scenes stories and listed as a "Jazz Child" patron.

    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500 USD

    All of the above plus: a self-made personal video message from you to Sheila (cleared and edited by the producers) to be included in the digital book app version.

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000 USD

    All of the above plus: 5 hand signed cds and a personal thank you from Sheila in the acknowledgement section of the book.

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000 USD

    Everything above plus: Meet Sheila Jordan and the producers in New York to talk about the production of the book and get behind the scenes photos and videos to be used in book (date and location to be determined by producers and travel expenses not included).

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers

Funding period

- (26 days)