Archive for the Clifford JORDAN Category

Clifford JORDAN Quintet – Two Tenor Winner 1984

Posted in Clifford JORDAN, JAZZ on December 21, 2010 by whoisthemonk

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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Clifford JORDAN, John GILMORE – Blowing In From Chicago 1957

Posted in Clifford JORDAN, JAZZ, John GILMORE on December 17, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Clifford JORDAN, John GILMORE – Blowing In From Chicago 1957
2003 Edition. 7243 5 42306 2 2


BLOWING IN FROM CHICAGO features tenor saxophonist John Gilmore as a co-leader. After this 1957 session, he spent the rest of his career in Sun Ra’s band, hardly ever making any albums under his own name. This adversely affected Gilmore’s legacy, since his name has largely been overlooked by younger jazz audiences. However, Gilmore’s performance here is first-rate, and is matched by fellow tenor sax player Clifford Jordan. Throughout the record, it’s apparent that this pairing of like minds is ideal.

Drummer Art Blakey also asserts himself on this album, especially on the highly rhythmic “Billie’s Bounce,” a Charlie Parker tune he popularized with the Jazz Messengers. The Latin-flavored Jordan original “Bo-Till” is one of BLOWING IN FROM CHICAGO’S highlights, as is his funky blues number “Evil Eye.” This is classic hard bop played by some of its most skillful practitioners.

Clifford Jordan’s first date as a leader actually found him sharing a heated jam session with fellow tenor John Gilmore. Backed by pianist Horace Silver, bassist Curly Russell, and drummer Art Blakey, the two saxophonists square off mostly on obscurities (other than Gigi Gryce’s “Blue Lights” and “Billie’s Bounce”); the original six selections are joined by the previously unreleased “Let It Stand” on the CD reissue. This was one of Gilmore’s few sessions outside of Sun Ra’s orbit and, if anything, he slightly overshadows the cooler-toned Jordan. Recommended.
By Scott Yanow. AMG.
Bass- Curly Russell
Drums- Art Blakey
Piano- Horace Silver
Tenor Sax- Clifford Jordan, John Gilmore
01. Status Quo (John Neely) 5:34
02. Bo-Till (Clifford Jordan) 5:54
03. Blue Lights (Gigi Gryce) 6:35
04. Billie’s Bounce (Charlie Parker) 9:32
05. Evil Eye (Clifford Jordan) 5:12
06. Everywhere (Horace Silver)  5:42
07. Let It Stand (Clifford Jordan)  7:42

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Clifford JORDAN – Remembering Me-Me 1976

Posted in Clifford JORDAN, JAZZ on November 25, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Clifford JORDAN – Remembering Me-Me 1976


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Bass- Kiyoto Fujiwara (tracks: A3, B1) , Wilbur Ware
Drums- George Avaloz
Drums [African], Vocals- Hank Diamond Smith (tracks: A2, B3)
Piano, Electric Piano- Chris Anderson (5)
Saxophone [Tenor], Mixed By- Clifford Jordan
Trumpet, Flugelhorn- Roy Burrowes
Vocals- Boo Boo Monk (tracks: A2, B1) , Donna Jordan (tracks: B1) , Terri Plair (tracks: B1)
A1. It’s Time  7:29
Composed By – M. Roach
A2. Powerful Paul Robeson  5:51
Written By – C. Jordan-H. Smith
A3. Symphony In Blues  6:15
Written By – R. Burrowes
B1. Ole Funny Columbine  10:11
Written By – C. Jordan-J. Cridland
B2. Mama’s Little Boy Thinks He’s A Man  4:36
Written By – C. Jordan
B3. Me-Me (Prayer To The People)  3:30
Written By – C. Jordan-H. Smith

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Clifford JORDAN – Glass Bead Games 1973

Posted in Clifford JORDAN, JAZZ on November 19, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Clifford JORDAN – Glass Bead Games 1973
2006 Issue.


Clifford Jordan was a soulful, powerful, deeply thoughtful Chicago tenor player who, though sought after by pianist Horace Silver and praised by fellow saxophonist Sonny Rollins, was fated to be the Lester Young of his era, misunderstood and often overlooked by general followers of the music. He had little interest in hard bop, funk or fusion, and his muse did not tempt him, like John Coltrane’s, to scale Olympian heights. Not even his invaluable contribution to what may be Silver’s most creative and satisfying Blue Note recording, Further Explorations By The Horace Silver Quintet (Blue Note, 1958), has brought him much notice because, inexplicably, it remains out of print domestically, one of the few Silver recordings not to be reissued as a Rudy Van Gelder remaster.

The single recording that best represents this gentle giant is 1974’s Glass Bead Games, a two- volume session on which Jordan leads two quartets—the first with drummer Billy Higgins, pianist Stanley Cowell, and bassist Bill Lee; the second retaining Higgins while replacing Cowell with Cedar Walton and Lee with Sam Jones.

Fetching sky-high prices on eBay, then reissued as a costly, incomplete Japanese import, it’s small wonder the elusive album’s reputation exceeds the number who have actually heard it. Early in 2007 Jordan’s widow authorized release of the first complete and only domestic reissue of the legendary session once prized by collectors. Rest assured that the music more than lives up to its reputation. The session could easily be viewed as a missing link between tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter’s JuJu (Blue Note, 1964) and Footprints Live (Verve, 2004), or as a more significant venture than either. Not only does the recording bear out the acclaim bestowed upon it by tenor giant Sonny Rollins, confirming Jordan’s own mastery of the horn and establishing him as one of its unique and compelling voices, but it invites comparison with Coltrane’s A Love Supreme (Impulse, 1964), an inarguable influence on Jordan.

Although using the same instrumentation as Coltrane, Jordan’s musical discourse is a distinct departure. Besides Coltrane’s seminal recording, Jordan was inspired by Hermann Hesse’s 1943 Nobel prize- winning final novel, The Glass Bead Game. The title refers to a futuristic game designed to give players who have mastered its rules an understanding of the primary principle linking all arts, sciences and knowledge. So intrigued is Jordan by Hesse’s game and its field of play that he employs it not merely in reference to one of his original compositions and to the session of which it is a part, but as a touchstone to the music as a whole. The twelve tunes on the date soon come to sound as a single, albeit many-faceted, organically whole piece, amounting to a virtual enactment of Hesse’s famous game.

In the notes included with this latest edition of the recording, writer Stanley Crouch alludes to the session’s “high velocity reflection” and “heated joy,” attributing both to the music’s “overwhelming the moment,” insisting that this music “takes command of the moment to such an extent that each player’s individuality and the power of the ensemble become one—the point at which everyone consistently makes the right decision” [Crouch’s italics].

Crouch certainly speaks to the powerful effect of the music, though the reader might question his identification of the cause. The extraordinary accomplishment of these musicians is not so much to “control” the moment as to be fully in it, going beyond the more familiar and necessarily doomed struggle to extend or stop time. The experience of temporal flow, of the continuity of the self in time, of the connectedness of the individual with the “other,” is fully realized during this singularly collaborative creation. Moreover, there is no prescriptive, external standard that must be met: the “right decision” is simply the one that doesn’t disrupt the moment, the opportunistic move that keeps it in play.
By Samuel Chell.
Recorded in October 1973, Clifford Jordan’s Glass Bead Games  remains a fascinating work and easily the tenor saxophonist’s finest recording. The album was named for the futuristic novel by Hermann Hesse that won the author a Nobel Prize in 1946. In short, the book (Glass Bead Game) is about an intricate game played by an elite group of intellectuals using the entire history of culture and science. Perfect for the 1970s.
Like the Hesse novel, Glass Bead Games brings together all of Jordan’s eclectic  compositional talents. Many of the songs on the album are named for specific artists and Jordan’s tributes deftly capture their feel. While Glass Bead Games is made up of 12 individual tracks, the album really must be heard from start to finish, like Miles Ahead or A Love Supreme. In this regard, Glass Bead Games is a suite.
Jordan began his recording career with Blue Note Records in  1957 as a sideman but quickly wound up leading his own dates. His best-known recordings as a sideman probably are Horace Silver’s Further Explorations (1958) and Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite (1964). Prior to recording Glass Bead Games, Jordan spent a chunk of the 1960s with Charles Mingus and recorded often with pianist Cedar Walton.
Jordan, who died in 1993, had a gentle, velvety tone on the tenor saxophone, preferring to linger in the middle register with  occasional visits to the higher range. Unlike many saxophonists in the late 1950s who were influenced either by John Coltrane or Sonny Rollins, Jordan managed to fuse the two sounds while remaining distinctly alluring and lyrical. The resulting execution was both inventive and deliberate. His tone and ideas on Glass Bead Games reminds me of Wayne Shorter’s Juju (1964) and Charles Mingus’ Town Hall Concert (1964), which included Jordan in the lineup. Except Jordan on Glass Bead Games weaves a kinder, more inviting tapestry.
Joining Jordan on Glass Bead Games were two different groups.  For the compositions named after specific artists, Jordan used Stanley Cowell on piano, Bill Lee on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. On the five pieces with spiritual names, Jordan used Cedar Walton [pictured] on piano and Sam Jones on bass, with Higgins returning on drums. The entire group’s playing is remarkably tender for 1973, when avant-garde groups and free jazz were in vogue.
All of the tracks on Glass Bead Games feature smart, cohesive interactions between the musicians, and no two songs are alike.  In fact, there isn’t a single tag or cliche to be heard, which makes the album especially interesting and poetic. I hear autumn in this album—the sound of the wind, swaying branches and the scattering of leaves.
The album’s first track, Powerful Paul Robeson, opens with a  Love Supreme feel but shifts moods several times.
Glass Bead Games is an uptempo composition with Giant Steps’ influences.
Prayer to the People is a happy-go-lucky, medium-tempo tune in 6/8 time with Jordan sounding like Sonny Rollins.
Cal Massey starts with an up-tempo, circular riff that captures the texture of Massey’s complex yet catchy compositions.
John Coltrane is an out-and-out tribute. Yet Jordan never becomes so self-absorbed that he forgets the listener. His lines are full of feeling throughout.
Eddie Harris is a twist on Harris’ Freedom Jazz Dance, with Jordan paying a soulful tribute to the tenor saxophonist.
Biskit builds on Eddie Harris but adds a funkier soul line, and Jordan rides the lower register of his horn.
Shoulders is my favorite track on the album. It has a nifty saxophone line and challenging drum  configurations. All in all, the song is reminiscent of Mingus’ work in the late 1950s for Bethlehem, particularly A Modern Jazz Symposium of Music and Poetry (1957) and the saxwork of Shafi Hadi. For Jordan, playing was never about speed or how many notes but how best to express gentle beauty in songs that continuously shift gears.
Bridgework is a tribute to Sonny Rollins [pictured], who spent a period of time on the Williamsburg Bridge in New York working out a new approach to the tenor saxophone.
Maimoun is an intense ballad with an African groove and pensive melody line.
Alias Buster Henry is perhaps the closest Jordan comes to exhibiting a full-blown Coltrane sound, peppered with touches of free-form drumming. Yet the track is completely engaging.
One for Amos, the album’s final track, is the only composition that sounds remotely like a bop standard. But it, too, remains singular and in keeping with the album original theme.
All in all, this is a must-own CD of musical poetry for anyone who still believes that jazz is impossible to love after 1965.
JazzWax tracks: For years, Glass Bead Games was available  only as a high-bid auction item at eBay and then as a Japanese import short on tracks. But in 2007, Sandra Jordan, Clifford’s widow, gave permission for the first complete reissue on CD.
Perennially underrated saxophonist Clifford Jordan recorded two of his best albums for the Strata East label and Glass Bead Games is arguably his greatest recording and one of the great albums of the 1970s. Everything is right about this date; Jordan never sounded so good, his tone rich and full, his improvisatory ideas taking the models of Coltrane and Rollins and giving them his own twist. Recorded on a “stormy Monday, October 29, 1973,” it was originally issued as a double LP. On the album, Jordan works with two different rhythm sections: Stanley Cowell or Cedar Walton on piano and Bill Lee or Sam Jones on bass, with Billy Higgins manning the drum stool for both. The difference between the two rhythm sections is minimal (the Cowell/Lee group leans a little more toward the Trane model), probably due to Higgins’ commanding presence in each.
Jordan spread the compositional chores around and everyone except Jones contributed. The first three tracks (which comprised side one of the original album) are the leader’s and they are pitched somewhere between the Trane-derived spiritual mood that was prevalent at the time and the hard-driving bop with which Jordan is most commonly associated. Walton contributes two characteristic tricky melodic themes (“Shoulders” and “Bridgework”) that give Jordan plenty to sink his chops into while Lee’s funky “Biskit” and “Eddie Harris” (which has a kinship to Harris’ “Listen Here”) keep things invigorated. This disc also shines as one of the finest examples of the art of Higgins’ drumming, the variety of moods and tempi inspiring some of his best playing.

Glass Bead Games is a record that seems to have gotten better with age. In his liner notes, Stanley Crouch (a writer with whom I rarely agree) cites the fact that this album is a classic revered by many. Mention of this record to most any tenor player is guaranteed a favorable reaction. About the only complaint about this album would be the ordinary cover art for such extraordinary music.
By Robert Iannapollo.
Clifford Jordan- Tenor Sax;
Stanley Cowell- Piano;
Cedar Walton- Piano;
Bill Lee- Bass;
Sam Jones- Bass;
Billy Higgins- Drums.
01. Powerful Paul Robeson  5:40
02. The Glass Bead Games  3:50
03. Prayer To The People  4:10
04. Cal Massey  2:40
05. John Coltrane  6:45
06. Eddie Harris  4:23
07. Biskit  5:30
08. Shoulders  5:18
09. Bridgework  4:46
10. Maimoun  5:37
11. Alias Buster Henry  8:18
12. One For Amos  7:48

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