How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
One of the great benefits of obscurity is the celebration of discovery. Throughout his career, saxophonist/teacher Kidd Jordan has been respected and hired by peers including Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and Ellis Marsalis, but only since the late '90s has the septuagenarian begun to garner prolific recording opportunities and jazz festival invites.
Multi-instrumentalist Kali Z. Fasteau is the latest to share the time-tested and distinctive playing of Jordan. For People of the Ninth: New Orleans and the Hurricane 2005, the intent is unmistakable and the focus startling. The emotions of being displaced from his Louisiana home (Jordan resided in the Ninth Ward, pre-Katrina) can be heard from the opening quote of "Now's The Time on the first selection, "Levees, Lies and Lives. Using the Charlie Parker theme as a springboard to a plaintive cry, Jordan's multi-faceted message is a revealing one. It's up to the listener to decide between it being a statement on the evacuation or the larger failure of government to prepare for what would become the worst disaster on American soil.
Fasteau and Jordan complement one another sonically with Jordan's inspiring range on tenor and Fasteau's ceaseless creativity on piano (inside and out), cello, soprano sax, nai flute and aquasonic (waterphone), with drummer Michael TA Thompson (who also plays balafon) adding propulsive undercurrents. Respectful of the past while conscious of the future, Jordan's sound is at once earthy and deep and intensely biting. Titles such as "Rising Winds, "What Once Was, "Rescue Denied and "Oil and Water make this one of the most moving and personal post-Katrina music tributes made thus far.
Track Listing: Levees, Lies & Lives; Rising Winds; Right of Return; What Once Was; Whales' Advice; Rescue Denied; Professor Jordan's Favorite Horse; Mr. October; Concentration Dome; Diaspora/Oil & Water; The Dynamite Question; Solace (Transcendance IV).
Personnel: Kali Z. Fasteau: soprano sax, cello, piano, nai flute, aquasonic; Kidd Jordan: tenor sax; Michael T.A. Thompson: drums, balafon.