June 17, 2024


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Clifford Jordan was one of the most distinctive saxophonists to emerge in the late 1950’s: Full Album video

02.09. – Happy Birthday !!! Clifford Jordan, a saxophonist and big-band leader known for the lyricism of his improvisations, died on Saturday at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan. He lived in Manhattan.

His wife, Sandra, said the cause was cancer. Mr. Jordan was one of the most distinctive saxophonists to emerge in the late 1950’s. Whereas many of his contemporaries favored rough attacks and a hard-boiled fervor, Mr. Jordan instead perfected a light, floating approach. A typical solo used juxtapositions: a low note might break up a be-bop line, or an upper-register squeal would punctuate an evolving panorama of ideas. Mr. Jordan was one of the few modern tenor saxophonists to use Lester Young as an inspiration, and his playing was always extraordinarily musical, never relying on secondhand ideas.

Mr. Jordan was a product of the fertile Chicago music scene. He was a student at Du Sable High School, a legendary producer of jazz musicians, and his contemporaries included the saxophonists Johnny Griffin, John Gilmore and John Jenkins, along with the bassist Richard Davis. Mr. Jordan worked with Max Roach, Sonny Stitt and various rhythm-and-blues groups in Chicago. In 1957, he moved to New York. Recorded 35 Albums

Then Mr. Jordan’s professional career began in earnest, with recordings for two of the most important labels at the time, Blue Note and Prestige, both of which featured Chicago musicians. He went on to record more than 35 albums in his own name. He also joined Horace Silver’s band and continued performing with Mr. Roach.

From then on, Mr. Jordan was in constant demand, working with J. J. Johnson and Charles Mingus, and leading a quintet with Kenny Dorham. He recorded a series of albums for Riverside records, and between 1967 and 1969 he was the producer for five important records for Strata East, including his own “In the World.” He also toured regularly in Europe and Africa.

In the 1970’s, Mr. Jordan led the Magic Triangle, a group that included Cedar Walton, Sam Jones and Billy Higgins. But it was in the 80’s that he experienced a creative resurgence, recording the acclaimed “Repetition” for Soul Note and leading his own bands in New York and other cities around the world. Mr. Jordan also played with other groups, including Art Farmer’s band. In 1990, he started his own big band, which performed on Monday nights at Condon’s in Manhattan. The band quickly became one of the finest jazz orchestras anywhere and provided a fitting backdrop for his perfect, always startling improvisations.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Donna Harris of Manhattan; a son, Eric, of Woodstock, N.Y.; two stepdaughters, Jennifer Strong of Manhattan and Meaghan Gannett of Oakland, Calif., and a granddaughter.

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