Past Event

Desert Island Discs: Sheila Jordan on Bird

REBROADCAST: The heartbeat of bebop lives in the singing of Sheila Jordan, a master musician who, at 91, sustains a global performing and teaching schedule. Originally Sheila Jeannette Dawson, Jordan (who took her surname in 1952 after marrying Duke Jordan, Charlie Parker’s band pianist during 1947 and 1947), first met Parker in Detroit in 1947. They subsequently became close friends. On this evening’s edition of Desert Island, Jordan will present her Desert Island Parker recordings, accompanied by the first-hand commentary of someone who was there.


In the fall of 2015, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem debuted its version of Desert Island Discs. It’s modeled on an iconic BBC radio show, extant since 1942, which invites eminences from various walks of life to choose—and discuss—the eight records they would bring for a stay on the apocryphal desert island. For the Jazz Museum’s expanded version curated and hosted by esteemed journalist Ted Panken, the presenters are jazz musicians, who will present a cohort of music, of any genre, that was essential in the formation and evolution of their musical personality.