Keyboardist Alan Pasqua was given some simple advice by jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan early on that would follow him the rest of his career. It was 1975, and Jordan, revered for her 1962 recording Portrait of Sheila, had hired Pasqua for her comeback recording, Confirmation. They had been introduced by the respected jazz composer and New England Conservatory of Music instructor George Russell. “I was this young guy just starting out, and Sheila took me in,” Pasqua told Pasatiempo. “We got to be very close. She became like my jazz mom. I loved her and she loved me. Confirmation was the first jazz record that I did on acoustic piano. It was very free. Everything was so easy. It was totally far out.”
Jordan, sensing the young keyboardist’s enthusiasm and knowing just how hard a career in jazz could be, took Pasqua, who appears at St. John’s College on Saturday, March 29, aside. “‘Support your art,’ she told me. ‘Find a way. You can’t make a living just being a jazz artist, so learn to survive by doing all the things you can do.’”
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