Sheila Landis/Rick Matle
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Sheila Landis/Rick Matle

Rochester Hills, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1995 | INDIE | AFM

Rochester Hills, Michigan, United States | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 1995
Band Jazz Latin

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Review of "Beautiful Things" by Scott Yanow
Based in Michigan, Sheila Landis has been a significant jazz singer since her recording debut in 1973. She is a consistently inventive scat singer and improvises constantly, even when exploring well-known standards. She has
teamed up with 7-string guitarist Rick Matle a countless number of times during the past two decades. On Beautiful Things the duo performs 14 songs, including two versions of “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter.” A few of the numbers are taken from a live concert tribute to Ella Fitzgerald including an original, “When In Doubt, Make Coffee,” that is inspired by Ella’s version of “I Won’t Dance.” In addition to singing lyrics and scatting up a storm, Ms. Landis sometimes effectively imitates a trombone with her voice. Matle is quite self-sufficient as the rhythm section, augmenting his guitar playing with bass notes and engaging in plenty of spontaneous interplay with the adventurous singer, who sounds unlike anyone else. Among the highlights are “Fine Fat Daddy,” “Caravan, “Pennies From Heaven,” “In A Mellotone” and Matle’s feature on “Besame Mucho.” Beautiful Things, available from www.sheilalandis.com, is easily recommended. - Los Angeles Jazz Scene - CD Reviews


AllMusic Review of "Colors of Brazil" by Dave Nathan

SheLan Records, whose recording stable consists solely of vocalist Sheila Landis and guitarist Rick Matle, celebrates its 20th anniversary with the latest collaboration of these two confederates on Colors of Brazil. The album is not all new, using some remixed material recorded as early as 1981. Other cuts come from the 21st annual Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival held in 2000. The duo has put together a musical potpourri made up of originals and familiar material, all with a Latin bent. Landis has long been known for her unconventional, but always ear-opening, approach to the music. One audacious track is "What a Difference a Day Made," not done the way Dinah Washington sang it. With a throbbing Latin beat provided by Matle plus quartet and driven by Dennis Sheridan's Latin percussion, Landis inserts bird calls, wordless vocalizing, and assorted other cries between the lyrics. On this one, she takes no prisoners. Standards are not spared from the inventive approach taken by Landis/Matle and friends. "Summertime" is an up-tempo South of the Border romp with Scott Petersen laying out significant licks on the soprano sax. "The Girl From Ipanema" is done in three languages -- Portuguese, English, and scat -- as Landis improvises, changing the phrasing and timing to suit her perception of this classic, and again, it's not the way Ella Fitzgerald sang it. Only a singer who has supreme self-assurance in her artistry and technical skills can get away doing these off the beaten track arrangements. As the session moves along, it becomes more and more obvious that Landis is perfectly confident that she can be on the mark with any note or any form of vocalizing, anytime she wants. Highly recommended. - Dave Nathan


Sheila Landis (born Sheila Catherine Landis 9-10-1953 in Detroit) is an American jazz and R & B vocalist and songwriter.

Landis formed her own label, SheLan Records,[1] in 1981, initially releasing five albums of self-penned material. These original vinyl recordings are avidly sought out world-wide by jazz record collectors. Much of this material has been released internationally on Counterpoint Records UK[2] and Celeste/Vivid Sound[3] in Japan.

In 1990, Landis began working with guitarist/producer Rick Matle in live performance and in the studio. Together they have released over 10 recordings.

Landis is a seven-Time Detroit Music Awards[4] "Outstanding Jazz Vocalist" Winner, along with being recognized for "Outstanding Traditional Jazz Group" and "Outstanding Jazz Composer" (co-winner with Rick Matle).

Landis draws inspiration from vocal artists Sarah Vaughan, Flora Purim and Joni Mitchell.[5] Motown, Brazilian bossa nova and samba, classic rock and pop have also been influences in forming her soulful sound amalgam.

David Nathan of AllMusic writes, "Landis has an extraordinarily flexible voice and an uncanny ability to use it to great advantage. She scats, sings ballads, loves Latin rhythms, and can swing. She does jazz, rock, bebop, as well as Latin with absolute equanimity. Although having been on stage for more than 30 years, Landis has never fallen into a rut. Her work continues to exude vitality, excitement, diversity, and originality".[6]

Not content to simply sing and scat in the jazz vocal tradition, Landis takes the lead from vocal innovators Al Jarreau and Bobby McFerrin in expanding her vocal palette to include uncanny imitations of the harmonica, trumpet, flute, synthesizer, string bass and even drums. - Wikipedia


SHEILA LANDIS
Frog Island Festival 2000 features a red-hot 'n' cool afternoon of Motor City Jazz. Starting the local focus at noon on Saturday, the spotlight will be on three pinnacles of Detroit jazz including Sheila Landis and Brazilian Love Affair. Singing is Sheila Landis's passion and jazz is her religion. It's been a long time since the jazz community has heard a vocalist who embodies such poetic lyricism, one who uses her voice to entice and enliven. Landis approaches the music as if she's a horn player and she hasn't pigeonholed herself by just playing one style. In fact, she moves through the old tunes with the grace and sophistication of Anita O'Day. Her interpretation of the blues is rich with emotionalism and history, and she has become an expert "scat-ologist". At a time when female jazz vocalists are blazing a new trail, Landis has been in the trenches perfecting a sound suffused with honesty and a soft romanticism. Her accompaniment ranges from a straight-ahead trio to a large Brazilian ensemble. But she's at her best when she's backed by the soulful strumming of guitarist Rick Matle, with whom she has worked since 1988. At times, Landis's music has a healing and sustaining force. She transforms herself when she sings, her voice becoming an instrument and her body language an extension of the song. She wraps herself around a ballad with such warmth that it would bring tears to Billie Holiday's eyes. Then she can run through a Fats Waller composition such as "Ain't Misbehavin'" without losing any of her honesty and magnetism. Jazz enthusiasts praise her for being able to play different facets of the music, but the praise hasn't given her the "diva complex". Whether she's performing for a small audience at a cafe or swinging at a large jazz festival, Landis remains the embodiment of grit and sophistication. (Charles L. Latimer, Metro Times, Detroit, Michigan: 6/21/2000). - Metro Times: Detroit, Michigan


Ten of the Best for 2001
By Dave Nathan
Colors of Brazil - Sheila Landis (Shelan 1018). Sheila Landis released her first album in 1981 and this latest is her 17th, give or take one or two, all on her own Shelan label. This CD features rhythms which allow Landis to fully use her multifaceted vocal talents. Joined by her long time playing companion Rick Matle, Landis runs the gamut from wildly controlled scatting and other wordless vocalizing gambits to singing the "Girl from Ipanema" in coyly enunciated Port

SheLan Records, whose recording stable consists solely of vocalist Sheila Landis and guitarist Rick Matle, celebrates its 20th anniversary with the latest collaboration of these two confederates on Colors of Brazil. The album is not all new, using some remixed material recorded as early as 1981. Other cuts come from the 21st annual Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival held in 2000. The duo has put together a musical potpourri made up of originals and familiar material, all with a Latin bent. Landis has long been known for her unconventional, but always ear-opening, approach to the music. One audacious track is "What a Difference a Day Made," not done the way Dinah Washington sang it. With a throbbing Latin beat provided by Matle plus quartet and driven by Dennis Sheridan's Latin percussion, Landis inserts bird calls, wordless vocalizing, and assorted other cries between the lyrics. On this one, she takes no prisoners. Standards are not spared from the inventive approach taken by Landis/Matle and friends. "Summertime" is an up-tempo South of the Border romp with Scott Petersen laying out significant licks on the soprano sax. "The Girl From Ipanema" is done in three languages — Portuguese, English, and scat — as Landis improvises, changing the phrasing and timing to suit her perception of this classic, and again, it's not the way Ella Fitzgerald sang it. Only a singer who has supreme self-assurance in her artistry and technical skills can get away doing these off the beaten track arrangements. As the session moves along, it becomes more and more obvious that Landis is perfectly confident that she can be on the mark with any note or any form of vocalizing, anytime she wants. Highly recommended. — Dave Nathan
- David Nathan


Sheila Landis/Rick Matle "Fine and Mellow"
How simple! How eloquent! How nice! Indeed, the warm combination of Sheila Landis' supple voice and Rick Matle's caressing guitar is a natural. Based in Detroit, the duo casts an inviting spell in which standards transcend to the status of haiku, where an evergreen like "Ain't Misbehavin" is transformed into a glossy yet telling encapsulation of life's great verities. "Summertime", "Corcovado" and "Willow Weep for Me" are similarly transmuted.
Though they jokingly refer to themselves as the Motor City's answer to Tuck and Patti, it's an apt comparison. The duets of Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass provide yet another touchstone. Along with standards, the duo's sophisticated treatment of bluesy fare such as Billie Holiday's "Fine & Mellow is also notable. "Throughout, one can't help but be impressed by their easy rapport, intuitive phrasings and hip harmonies. And when Landis scats, well, the spirit of Ella lives!" - Chuck Berg


"Vocalist Sheila Landis is a unique force, avoiding standards in favor of her own literate originals with spontaneous rhythms that soar on gossamer wings." - Mark Stryker


Sheila Landis Artist Biography by Dave Nathan

Born and raised in Detroit, vocalist Sheila Landis knew singing was to be her career as she listened to the soundtrack of "Lady Sings the Blues". The great Billie Holiday songs from that film galvanized her attention and emotions. Later, while an English major at Oakland University, she hung out at the Performing Arts Building meeting such Detroit jazz artists as Marcus Belgrave. So the stage was already set as far as music as a career was concerned when she entered the fray in 1973 with a Top 40 group called "The Vineyards". In 1981, Landis formed her own record company, SheLan Records, and has been issuing an album on that label virtually every year since then. Much of her early work on LP is still available. She 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-member band, Brazilian Love Affair. The latter is the main instrument to express Landis's long-standing romance with Brazilian music, bossa nova, and samba, captured on such albums as "Colors of Brazil" (SheLan 2001). Landis uses her trio, which includes Matle plus percussionist, to delve into the realm of jazz poetry. Two of her albums incorporating this technique are "The Bird Inside" and "Where Jazz Lives" (followed by "Heart Plaza" in 2010).



Landis has an extraordinarily flexible voice and an uncanny ability to use it to great advantage. She scats, sings ballads, loves Latin rhythms, and can swing. She does jazz, rock, bebop, as well as Latin with absolute equanimity. This multifaceted musical elasticity allows her to take part in any jazz scenario with ease and with excellent results. Landis has chosen to consider herself a Detroit artist, doing most of her work in and around the Motor City. In appreciation of this loyalty as well as for her talent, she has been the recipient of many area awards, including being named outstanding jazz vocalist for seven different years by the 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. Although having been on stage for more than 30 years, Landis has never fallen into a rut. Her work continues to exude vitality, excitement, diversity, and originality. - AllMusic


Discography

"Jazz Rendezvous" SheLan Records, 1981, vinyl, (reissued in 2001 for sale in Japan).
"Guess I'll Call It Love" ("Penso Que Seja Amor"), SheLan Records, 1981, vinyl, (reissued in 2001 for sale in Japan).
"Bebop Angel" SheLan Records, 1982, vinyl, (reissued in 2001 for sale in Japan).
"Singer/Songwriter" SheLan Records 1983, vinyl, (reissued in 2001 for sale in Japan).
"G-Gosh!" SheLan Records, 1985, vinyl.
"Deja Blue" SheLan Records, 1990, cassette.
"The Greatest Hits of Sheila Landis" SheLan Records, 1992, cassette and CD.
"Are We Home Yet?" Rick Matle on SheLan Records, 1992, cassette.
"JazzScapes" SheLan Records, cassette, 1995.
"Fine and Mellow" SheLan Records, CD, 1996 (reviewed by Chuck Berg for JazzTimes Magazine March 1997).
"The Bird Inside" SheLan Records, CD, 1997.
"Where Jazz Lives" SheLan Records, CD 1999.
"Don't Go To Strangers" SheLan Records, cassette, 1998.
"Winter Wonderland" SheLan Records, CD, 1998.
"Ears Wide Shut" Rick Matle on SheLan Records, CD, 2001.
"Colors of Brazil" SheLan Records, Sheila Landis and Brazilian Love Affair, CD, 2001.
"Riding the Round Pool" SheLan Records, CD, 2002.
Sheila Landis can also be found on the Pat Cronley CD release "Tropicana Tuna"; on CounterPoint Records (United Kingdom) "Jazz BizNiz 2", "Jazz Bizniz 2 remixed"; on Japanese musician/DJ Tatsuo Sunaga's "Organ b. Suite" for Avex of Tokyo, Japan; on "Crouka" scat- singing "satellite beats/it's yours" by the Sunaga t Experience. Landis and Matle also added tracks to the pop-Latin flavored "No Reason, No Rhyme" for Tokyo's Flower Records, in collaboration again with Tatsuo Sunaga. Celeste/Vivid Sound has released four SheLan products on CD, plus bonus tracks and all-new packaging including "Guess I'll Call It Love", "Bebop Angel", "Singer/Songwriter" and "Colors of Brazil".
"Driven" 2004
"Blues in the Night" 2006
"A Little Something for Christmas" with George "Sax" Benson 2007
"Heart Plaza" with Rick Matle, Wendell Harrison and John Lindberg 2010

"Beautiful Things" Sheila Landis and Rick Matle 2016

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Bio

SHEILA LANDIS is a remarkable singer born in Detroit, Michigan in 1953. Raised in Rochester Hills, Landis graduated in 1971 from Adams High School, excelling in choral music and creative writing.  Captivated by the music of Billie Holiday in the 1972 film "Lady Sings the Blues", Landis abruptly changed her career focus from that of an English major at Oakland University to jazz chanteuse. She has been performing her unique amalgam of jazz, Brazilian music and blues since 1973.  Landis absorbed the songs of the 1960's British Invasion; fell hard for the beats and catchy choruses of Motown; embraced 1970's funk and sweet soul harmonies of the Stylistics, later grooving to jazz-pop artists like Steely Dan and Sting.

Thus inspired, Landis pursued private lessons in voice, piano, jazz harmony and Latin percussion.  With her growing collection of original compositions, Landis formed her own record label, SheLan Records, in 1981. She has since released 25 recordings, garnering attention from labels in Japan, Great Britain, Germany, Austria and France, resulting in several noteworthy collaborative projects and licensing arrangements.  

Landis has performed with her 6-piece, drum-driven ensemble Brazilian Love Affair at important Michigan jazz festivals including the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Lansing Jazz Festival and the Concert of Colors, to name a few.  She has also appeared at some of the hippest venues in Detroit including Baker's Keyboard Lounge, the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe and Cliff Bell's. 

Clearly one of the area's most adventurous singers, Sheila has been chosen "Outstanding Jazz Vocalist" by the Detroit Music Awards on seven separate occasions: 1991, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2003. The Sheila Landis Trio was  recognized by the Detroit Music Awards as "Outstanding Traditional Jazz Group" in 1999.  Landis and Matle together took home the Detroit Music Awards "Outstanding Jazz Composer" trophy in 1999. 

Sheila's long-time collaborator and ultimate muse is guitarist/producer RICK MATLE.  Matle earned his Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance from Oakland University in 1986.  Matle's formative studies there included jazz and classical guitar, jazz composing as well as performances on guitar, bass, percussion and African drums. The influence of jazz guitarists such as Joe Pass, Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomery can be heard in Matle's playing. Matle also cites Pat Metheny, Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix as major influences. Rick plays solid bass and chordal accompaniment on the 7-string guitar, providing a lush carpet for Landis's melodic flights. 

 Whether performing with the intimate Rick Matle/Sheila Landis Duo, Brazilian Love Affair, singing a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald or jamming with the Sheila Landis Trio, Landis's vocal explorations create a musical performance that is one of a kind.  Not content to stay within the conventional boundaries of the "jazz singer", Landis has expanded her vocal palette to include bird calls, uncanny imitations of the harmonica, trumpet, flute, electric guitar, synthesizer, string bass and "beat box" drums.

Sheila Landis also combines music and poetry with often surprising results, including an invitation to perform at the 2017 Detroit Jazz Festival with her quartet featuring Matle and avant-garde jazz bassist John Lindberg.  Landis earned a grant from The Michigan Council for the Arts/ArtServe Michigan in 1999 for "Music and Metaphor", workshops linking music and poetry.  Landis also participated in the National Association of Jazz Educators mentoring program "Sisters in Jazz", which was launched especially to encourage young women to partner  with a music professional to mature their jazz talents. Landis also taught at the University of Toledo in Ohio as Applied Vocal Jazz Instructor in 2008 and continues to offer voice lessons for students truly interested in developing a strong and expressive voice.

Sheila Landis and Rick Matle offer four distinct musical programs including: "Brazilian Love Affair", "Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald", "Blues in the Night" and "Music and Metaphor".

Renowned jazz writer Scott Yanow included a nod to Sheila Landis and Rick Matle in his book "The Jazz Singers, the Ultimate Guide" (published 2008 by Backbeat Books) noting that their CD "Riding the Round Pool" (SL1019) "is an excellent example of her creativity and interplay with Matle". Detroit jazz writer Charles L. Latimer included a full chapter on Landis and Matle in his 2017 book BEHIND THE SWING, A Glimpse Into the Lives of Some of the World's Finest Jazz Musicians, published in 2017.