b. Edward Jordan, Crowley, Louisiana, USA. Although his early career might suggest otherwise, saxophonist Jordan has always been farsighted and searching in his music, something that accounts for the fact that he became a distinguished figure in the avant garde of jazz. As a student, he attended Millikin University in Southern Illinois and Chicago’s Northwestern University. While in the Chicago area he was attracted to the music being played by the AACM. The 50s and 60s found him playing saxophone, usually the alto, as an anonymous though an important part of the backing for artists working on the New Orleans R&B scene which is where he settled. He worked and often recorded with musicians such as Fats Domino, ‘Big’ Joe Turner and Ray Charles.
Outside of the R&B studios, however, Jordan was active in jazz and in particular with the stylistic developments of the AACM. With drummer Alvin Fielder, he formed the Improvisational Arts Quintet in 1974. The following year, Jordan played at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and reappeared there every year for the next quarter century. He also co-leads the Joel Futterman-Kidd Jordan Trio, the third member of which is Fielder. Among the musicians with whom Jordan has worked are fellow altoists Cannonball Adderley and Ornette Coleman, and it was soon after encountering the latter that Jordan switched to playing tenor saxophone. Other artists with whom Jordan has played include Professor Longhair, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra and the World Saxophone Quartet. In its embryonic form, the latter group played at one of Jordan’s SUNO workshops. He has also worked with the AACM’s Fred Anderson who appeared on 2 Days In April and a trio with Joel Futterman and Alvin Fielder.
Jordan’s decision to remain in New Orleans and dedicate himself to time-consuming work as an educator has kept him from achieving widespread fame, nevertheless he has developed a devoted audience in Europe. His following is particularly strong in Germany and France, the latter country bestowing upon him the title Chevalier des Arts et Lettres. Jordan’s children have inherited his musicality. His daughter, Rachael, is a singer with a growing reputation, his eldest son, Kent (b. 28 October 1958, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA), is a gifted flautist while Marlon (b. 21 August 1970, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA) is a well-established jazz trumpeter.