September 2008

The Kidd Jordan Quartet
at the Guelph Jazz Festival & Colloquium
September 4, 2008 River Run Centre Guelph
A Knight out in the Royal City
by Laila Boulos

As the second act in a double bill, Edward "Kidd" Jordan and his quartet continued the evening's unspoken theme of individualistic playing with their free jazz improvised performance. CBC Radio 2's Caitlin Crockard, of the programs Fuse and The Signal, introduced the upcoming musicians. She also informed the audience that the performance would be recorded for future broadcast on The Signal that can be heard nightly at 10 p.m. on CBC Radio 2 with hosts Laurie Brown and Pat Carrabre.

The attention of these virtuosos to detail was evident in the first few minutes as Fielder brought out his wrench to quickly adjust his drum kit and Futterman later adjusted a few of the hammers in his piano. Interestingly, the hammer tweaking was made easier since the piano was uncovered with two strategically placed microphones pointing into the interior.

The skilled musicians in this quartet have played together in various groupings and regroupings over their careers. Immediately evident in their coming together was their comfort and familiarity with each other underlined by the synergy of their playing.

Although, many times, it was difficult to hear their individual talents as the solid wall of free jazz frenzy pierced the air in an endless pouring forth from the stage, there were brief occasions when each player enjoyed their moment in the spotlight.

During this free jazz concert, the endless hard driving saxophone expertise of Kidd Jordan provided the focus of the performance as the remaining members scrambled for second place in the spotlight. In fact, during many of Kidd Jordan's energetic, seamless solos, this saxophonist who is well into his 70s, dazzled and mesmerized with his unwavering command of his instrument of choice. As he made his way to the front of the stage playing to each side and then the middle of the platform, the people in the first row could have easily blow-dried their hair from the energy of the saxophone coming at them during his lengthy demonstrations of musical creativity.

Later, as Futterman switched to soprano saxophone, he and Jordan dueled a number of times creating a more intense spirit and delighting the audience. Returning to the piano, Futterman sped up his pace with dramatic flourishes as he overlapped his hands to play the higher treble notes with his left hand and then returning to play the bass notes in an intoxicatingly cyclical rhythm.

Edward "Kidd" Jordan

Mohmed, on upright bass, experimented with sound by alternating between methodically picking the fingerboard to enthusiastically using a bow. At one point, he was frenetically using his bow on the lowest point of the fingerboard while maintaining an iron grip at the top creating a haunting vibration of sound.

Rounding out the strength of this quartet, Fielder barely miss-stepped as one of his sticks flipped dramatically behind him, to the amusement of the audience. And, during the blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-them quieter moments, Fielder's deft play of bells rolling over his cymbals or the overhead display of the meeting of the Tibetan bells brought a feeling of calm and lightness to the performance.

This performance underlined the sheer talent and confidence of these musicians as they improvised every note, working together to create a relaxed yet intense concert that mesmerized their audience. Throughout their time on stage they stretched out to the far musical reaches, unafraid to take chances, providing a freewheeling wall of textured sound while competing in the department of musical dazzle.

About Edward "Kidd" Jordan
Kidd Jordan performs on tenor, baritone, soprano, alto, C-melody and sopranino saxophones, as well as contrabass and bass clarinets. Over the course of his performing career, he has worked in many forms with artists such as Cannonball Adderley, Ray Charles, Ornette Coleman, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes and Stevie Wonder, yet there is not much written about him.

As a teacher, he has contributed much time and effort on musical education programs in Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone and was an instructor of jazz studies at Southern University at New Orleans from 1974 until 2006. His work in Africa has been covered by the program 60 Minutes.

The French Ministry of Culture, in 1985, bestowed upon Jordan the title of Chevalier (Knight) de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres which is their highest artistic award. In 2008 at the Vision Festival, he received the honour of a lifetime recognition award.

Everything that Jordan performs musically is improvised and when he works with a group, it is a collective improvisation as each musician creates individually and within the context of the group to provide their delighted audiences with a unique performance.

The musicians
Edward "Kidd" Jordan - Tenor Saxophone
Alvin Fielder - Percussion
Joel Futterman - Piano, Soprano Saxophone
Buddy Mohmed - Bass
We welcome your comments and feedback
Laila Boulos
• • • • • •
The Live Music Report
• •

| Home | Archives | CD Reviews | Photo Galleries | Concert Listings | Contact |

Please contact us to secure permission for use of any material found on this website.
© The Live Music Report – 2008