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Artist Profiles

Kidd Jordan: Freedom and Tradition

By Published: June 26, 2008
Jordan's associations are as numerous as they are diverse. Artists as disparate as James Brown and Tony Bennett have benefited from his contributions, but this does not mean that Jordan is absolutely open to any situation. "It's really a vibe. Players have to be laying something down that I can get into. If it's just too chaotic, I just don't play much—try to get in on things, but it usually doesn't work." When asked about several appearances on Kali Z. Fasteau's albums, including a new release recorded at the Kerava Jazz Festival with Jordan and Newman Taylor Baker, he responds with a question: "Well see there?" he queries excitedly, "We don't talk about anything before we go on. I never heard any of that before we stepped onto the stage, but that's what I'm talking about." Indeed, his work on Fasteau's new album is superb, alternating modality with freedom and suffused with energy. When asked about having to deal with musical situations he does not relish, he says only, "You know the Christian saying, about being in the world but not of the world? That's what it's about," and he lets loose with his infectious laugh.

Kidd Jordan

While Jordan often functions in what might be called a post-New Thing aesthetic, he is not limited. His contributions to the Palm of Soul album, released by AUM Fidelity in 2006 and featuring Hamid Drake and William Parker, juxtapose delicacy with unpredictability as soul bubbles just beneath.

"It's just a way of life," says Jordan of improvisation and there really seems no better way to explain the ease and dexterity of his playing. He continues to try new things, including an arrangement of Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" by his daughter Rachel for saxophone and string quartet. "Yeah, I'll play the melody and then go out," Jordan says with glee and another hearty laugh. Whatever he does, his energy level is stunning, let alone for a man in his mid 70s. "You got to keep on keepin,'" he says, dismissing the years of neglect and hardship with a single stroke. His Vision tribute will undoubtedly entail an evening of celebration and fine music and the festivities could not be centered on a more deserving performer.

Selected Discography

Kali Z. Fasteau/Kidd Jordan, Live at the Kerava Jazz Festival (Flying Note, 2007)
Jordan/Drake/Parker, Palm of Soul (AUM Fidelity, 2005)
Jordan/Futterman/Fielder, Live at the Tempere Jazz Happening 2000 (Charles Lester Music, 2000)
Anderson/Drake/Jordan/Parker, 2 Days in April (Eremite, 1999)
Futterman/Jordan Trio, Southern Extreme (Drimala, 1997)
Joel Futterman/Kidd Jordan, Relativity, Revelation & Authenticity Kali, 1995)

Photo Credit
Frank Rubolino

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