Nearly 400 people clapped, danced and enjoyed the classic rhythm and blues sounds of Lynne Jordan and the Shivers at the third Jamming Jean concert at the Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave., on March 29. This free musical series is sponsored by the Levy Senior Center Foundation and was initially funded by a bequest from a former Center member to “feature music and musicians that reflect Evanston and its cultural diversity.”
The first song, a spot-on rendition of Lou Rawls’ breakthrough hit “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine,” set the tone for the rest of the evening. Many in the audience nodded appreciatively. It was an unexpectedly sexy opening, reinforced by the second song, Barry White’s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love Baby.” Ten minutes into the show, many in the audience were on their feet swaying to the music, while others threaded their way to the front of the room and started to dance.
Ms. Jordan, the diva herself, joined the band by the third song and soon had the audience entranced with her vocal power, sensuous phrasing and sassy attitude. She talked to the crowd as if she were confiding to a good friend, encouraging them to dance and asking them to join her in singing certain choruses.
Ms. Jordan and the band have been together for nearly 25 years, so that she says working with them “feels like family. We look out for each other.” She grew up in Ohio and came to Evanston to attend Northwestern University as a journalism major. She later switched to communications and found her voice as a performance artist.
Ms. Jordan has worked steadily as a professional singer and actress since 1993 and has performed as a soloist and with her band in clubs, concert halls and outdoor festivals all around Chicagoland. A natural storyteller, in her spare time she has been fine-tuning a one-woman show, “Great Big Diva,” which she first performed in December 2017 at City Winery. Last summer she and the band performed at one of Evanston’s 2018 Starlight Summer Concerts. Ms. Jordan has a soft spot for Evanston and still keeps in touch with many of her friends from her Northwestern days, saying “Coming here feels like a homecoming.”
For nearly two hours the band and Ms. Jordan filled the room with classic hits, among them Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” Carole King’s (“You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia.” The singer and the band conveyed their energy and enthusiasm to the audience, and the one or two people who had to leave early were grumbling about missing the second half of the show. By the time the band played its final few songs, most in the audience either danced or stood by their seats clapping or singing along.
The next Jamming Jean concert is scheduled for 5 p.m. on June 7, when The Fat Babies, a seven-piece jazz ensemble, will play at the Levy Senior Center. This free community event is open to everyone.