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Kidd Jordan/Joel Futterman/Alvin Fielder: Live at the Tampere Jazz Happening 2000

Kurt Gottschalk By

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The digital revolution has been kind to some of jazz's unsung elders, and Edward "Kidd" Jordan is tops among them. Small labels around the world are capturing and digitizing players who might not otherwise be gracing stereos, much less playing festivals, away from their native soil.

Jordan is the real deal, a fiery tenor player straight out of the '60s New Thing. Much of his work is with two standing groups with connections to both Chicago and the south: a quartet with Fred Anderson (another senior statesman finally getting his due), William Parker and Hamid Drake; and a trio with Joel Futterman and Alvin Fielder, both of whom—like Anderson and Drake—have connections with Chicago's AACM. The former is an all-out, all-star northern riot (Parker's a Bronx boy and Anderson and Drake both hail from Louisiana but make their home in Chicago), the latter is pure Deep South. Fielder returned home to Mississippi after some time in Chicago and Futterman was born in the Windy City but makes his bed in Virginia. Jordan himself is a N'awlins man. While it's the northern quartet that wins the acclaim, the southern trio is where Jordan sounds most at home. They play hard, but in a hot afternoon—not a big city nightclub—kind of way.

Live at the Tampere Jazz Happening 2000 is the fourth release by the trio. On previous outings—and under various names—they've been joined by bassists Parker and Elton Heron, but here they stick to the three-piece like old friends. The disc is divided into six tracks plus an encore, but it comes off like one long jam. Futterman spends more time at the keyboard than on previous discs, which is welcome; his piano playing is far more pleasing than his sometimes shrill soprano sax. Fielder is relaxed but ever present and Jordan, as always, is incisive and exciting.

Unfortunately, however, much of the energy gets lost to thin sound quality, and the trio has yet to make a definitive record ( Southern Extreme and New Orleans Rising, however, come closer). At this point, it's understood that they're good. They don't need another demo and it's time for the trio to hit the studio, or at least bring a devoted engineer into a small club rather than releasing festival sets. They deserve more than just another document.


Personnel: Joel Futterman - Piano, Soprano Sax, Wood Flute; Alvin Fielder - Percussion, Drums; Edward "Kidd" Jordan - Tenor Sax.

Title: Live at the Tampere Jazz Happening 2000 | Year Released: 2004

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