Detroit’s SHEILA LANDIS is one of jazz’s best kept secrets. Introduced to jazz by the soundtrack of ‘Lady Sings The Blues’, LANDIS immersed herself in the songs of BILLIE HOLIDAY and later, while studying English at Oakland University, she got to know jazz artists like MARCUS BELGRAVE. She entered the jazz fray herself in 1973 performing with a group called THE VINEYARDS. Then in 1981, she formed her own record company, Shelan, and has been issuing an album on that label virtually every year since then.
SHEILA met her musical and romantic soul mate, guitarist RICK MATLE, in 1990. They have worked together ever since in a variety of combinations; duo, trio, and their six to eight member band, BRAZILIAN LOVE AFFAIR. The latter is the main instrument to express LANDIS’ long-standing romance with Brazilian music. The lady has also been ever keen to explore the link between poetry and jazz and on two of her previous albums – ‘The Bird Inside’ and ‘Where Jazz Lives’ she explored that relationship in some depth.
SHEILA’S latest album – ‘Heart Plaza’ – continues that exploration. On the 13 tracker she works on a variety of themes – most notably the evolution of jazz. Her setting of ELIZABETH ROMATZ’S poem ‘Jazz’ sets the tone – but the two big set pieces are poet IRVINE BARAT’S tributes to DUKE ELLINGTON and ELLA FITZGERALD – ‘The Duke’ and ‘First Lady’ respectively.
Musically, LANDIS has an extraordinarily flexible voice. Throughout she scats, sings ballads and swings with a real verve. SHEILA has chosen to consider herself a Detroit artist, doing most of her work in and around the Motor City. In appreciation of this loyalty she has been the recipient of many area awards, including being named outstanding jazz vocalist for seven different years by Detroit Music Awards. She is a regular participant in Detroit music festivals, including the Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival, and performs regularly at a number of spots in the Detroit area.
Find out more about SHEILA LANDIS, her extensive back catalogue and that new album ‘Heart Plaza’ by visiting www.sheilalandis.com