New Orleans Festival Suite

Kidd Jordan

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New Orleans Festival Suite Review

by Rose of Sharon Witmer

Some of the younger set think they invented free jazz. They must not have been listening to the music of the Kidd Jordan Quartet. These veteran musicians have been engaging in free-form musical conversations for decades. Their ability to read each other's musical thoughts and respond is uncanny. Jordan says it is born of the simple act of listening.

The audience that was gathered at the Dream Palace on Frenchmen Street deep in the Faubourg Marigny of New Orleans on the night of May 2, 1999, had a unique opportunity to hear the quartet listening to each other. New Orleans native Edward "Kidd" Jordan would offer a thought on his tenor saxophone and Joel Futterman would answer on piano or soprano saxophone. William Parker kept the musical conversation on an upward spiral with his mesmerizing bass, while Alvin Fielder would interject with an explosive drum beat or simmering syncopation. You have to hear it to believe it. The CD is entitled New Orleans Festival Suite, since it was recorded during the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. But Jordan notes that they could have been anywhere, and it certainly sounds that way, as the players wander in a labyrinth of sound from the melodic to the screech. However, the movements of the now-legendary performance have decidedly regional names: "Decatur Street," "Dream Palace," and " Ole Miss Lovesong." Perhaps they just had to call them something. Call them wild forays into the far reaches of outer and inner space.

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