Kidd Jordan - On Fire (Engine, 2011)


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New Orleans music isn't totally about the neo-traditionalism of the Marsalis clan and Donald Harrison, although no disrespect is meant to those musicians. Saxophonist Kidd Jordan takes the lessons of growing up as a musician in the south and New Orleans in general and combines with the open ended nature of free jazz to develop music bringing strong images, memories, and feelings to mind. He is aided and abetted by Warren Smith on percussion and vibraphone and Harrison Bankhead on bass. Beginning with the evocatively defiant title “Officer, That Big Knife Cuts My Sax Reeds" the group comes blasting out of the gates with a strong performance; Jordan's saxophone has the pained tone reminiscent of one that Albert Ayler used in his classic recordings, stretching out the spaciousness of the music between long tones of burly sound. “The Evil Eye" takes the music in an even more mysterious direction, with probing saxophone evoking mysterious rites one might find in the Louisiana bayous, anchored by bowed bass droning and ominous percussion. “We Are All Indebted to Each Other" and “Harrison Carries Out the Coffin" add shimmering vibraphone to the picture performances that have atmospheres of strangeness or secrecy in their performance. The music develops slowly with plaintive haunting saxophone on the former, giving way to a lengthy spacious section for solo bass, before Jordan lays the music to rest with mournful long tones of saxophone. This is a fascinating performance by some still under-recognized masters of the music. They make music that is beholden to nobody's creed save their own. On Fire—amazon.com

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