Clifford JORDAN Quintet – Two Tenor Winner 1984

Clifford JORDAN Quintet – Two Tenor Winner 1984


Clifford Jordan has a bit more of a following, thanks in no small part to his association with Mingus–and he is the more assured of the two. Yet Junior Cook is no slouch, practically evenly matched with Jordan as a player. It’s a delight to hear them go head to head on a jazz standard like “Groovin’ High.” Not the heat and fury, perhaps, of a Griff and Lockjaw tenor battle, but nonetheless an exhilarating experience. Junior is somewhat more conservative and doesn’t find the climactic spot for his altissimo note as he does on the classic session with Silver which included “Strollin’.” Clifford follows up with a solo that not only welds altissimo to dramatic climax but goes an octave better than Jr. before a rapid 3-octave descent to his conclusion.
Yet there’s nothing competitive-sounding about this encounter, which is more of a match-up than a match-off. Both players can be meditative, lyrical, poignant–and both could play as though their lives depended on it, while making it all sound so easy. Just listen to the aching beauty of “Make the Man Love Me” and and the so evanescent “Doug’s Prelude”: it’s like both of these “singers” are the Bill Evanses of the tenor saxophone. Junior’s albums, especially, are on the verge of extinction, which is sad. His last session, recorded in Europe days before his death, finds him playing through pain and with no small amount of determination matched by courage.
Somehow, not long after the extraordinary revival jazz enjoyed in the ’90s, when the Marsalises were in charge at Columbia/Sony and new young “hot” players kept coming up, the music seemed to end for many of us. Count them up: from Blakey to Sims, Cohn, Jaws, Junior, Jordan, Art Pepper and Pepper Adams, and feisty Bill Hardman–and some of us had barely gotten over the premature departure of Stitt preceded by Ammons and Cannonball, not to mention Coltrane. But don’t get too near this music if you’re not prepared for life’s cruel hoaxes. At one point not long ago, the average life expectancy of jazz musicians was a breath-taking 43 years. It’s extended since, but not enough.
The great artists (not the academicians) had little time and less money for physicians let alone private insurance.
By Samuel Chell.
Clifford Jordan and Junior Cook make for a perfectly compatible team on this 1984 CD. While assisted by pianist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Eddie Gladden, the very distinctive tenors inspire each other on originals, obscurities, Charles Davis’ Half and Half, and Groovin’ High. High-quality hard bop with a bit of competitiveness resulting in some fiery moments.
By Scott Yanow. AMG.
Clifford Jordan- Tenor Saxophone
Junior Cook- Tenor Saxophone
Kirk Lightsey- Piano
Cecil McBee- Bass
Eddie Gladden- Drums
01. Half And Half (Charles Davis) (9:46)
02. Song Of Her (Cecil McBee) (5:05)
03. Groovin’ High (Dizzy Gillespie) (9:56)
04. The Water Bearer (Kirk Lightsey) (8:05)
05. Make The Man Love Me (Schwartz / Fields) (6:10)
06. Two Tenor Winner (Charles Mims) (7:21)
07. Doug’s Prelude (Clifford Jordan) (2:43)

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