Tenor saxophonist Edward "Kidd" Jordan is one those rare musicians who is able to imbue the freest, most advanced improvisations with extreme lyricism and build complex harmonies out of dissonant notes. On Fire showcases his sublime musicianship to the fullest.
On "Officer, that Big Knife Cuts My Sax Reeds," Jordan's breaths fire on an emotionally cathartic and furious solo, replete with honks and shrieks that grow more quietly contemplative yet also more elaborate as the piece progresses. On the "We Are All Indebted To Each Other" his plaintive tone is emotionally uplifting with hints of melancholy not unlike a spiritual. His insistent "The Evil Eye" resembles a Native American chant, opening with drummer Warren Smith's sonorous roar and featuring Harrison Bankhead's earthy, alternating arco and pizzicato bass. Smith's polyphonic percussion casts a hypnotic spell with a ceremonial aura and is punctuated by Jordan's chirps and tweets that are like the mating calls of a mighty and mythical bird.
Strummed like a large acoustic guitar, Bankhead's mournful and atmospheric bass accompany his wordless lamentation on the solemn and bluesy "Harrison Carries Out The Coffin." Jordan's own voice on the tenor is equally blues drenched while Smith's sparse mallets support the other two with their sparkles of sound, like bells chiming in the wind.
Smith's resonant vibraphone on the "We Are All Indebted To Each Other" starts in more or less traditional style, but evolves into freer more jarring extemporizations without slipping into cacophony. Jordan's brassy tenor enters into a duet with Smith, while Bankhead's earthy rhythms complete the trio's angular musical vision.
As with his previous records, on On Fire Jordan has created an idiosyncratic work that is both emotionally and intellectually satisfying. It also is testament that not only he has kept his edge with age but, indeed, has grown bolder and more fearless.
Officer, that Big Knife Cuts My Sax Reeds; The Evil Eye; We Are All Indebted To Each Other; Harrison Carries Out The Coffin.
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