One of the things that Sheila Jordan's followers can agree on is the fact that her catalog isn't nearly as large as it should be; in a perfect world, Jordan would have been recorded much more extensively over the years. But throughout much of her career, the risk-taking jazz vocalist only recorded sporadically. For that reason, her hardcore fans tend to grab every Jordan CD that they can get their hands on, and those fans will find a lot to admire on Winter Sunshine: Live at Upstairs, which contains highlights of a February 15-16, 2008 appearance at a club in Montreal, Canada. Jordan was 79 at the time, but for the most part, her voice is holding up well on spirited performances of material that ranges from Bobby Timmons' "Dat Dere" (she embraces Oscar Brown, Jr.'s quirky lyrics) to Tin Pan Alley standards such as Johnny Mercer's "I Remember You" and George Gershwin's "Lady Be Good" (which she turns into an Ella Fitzgerald tribute, although not at the expense of her individuality). Jordan performs a few original songs as well, including "The Crossing" and the autobiographical "Sheila's Blues." The latter reminds us how frustrating it is that Jordan doesn't have a much larger catalog; the lyrics of "Sheila's Blues" point to the fact that she has a very impressive track record -- and someone with such a track record should have been recorded exhaustively (both on-stage and in the studio) throughout her long career. Winter Sunshine: Live at Upstairs falls short of essential, but even so, it is a rewarding document of her February 2008 appearance at that Montreal venue.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson