Charles Lester Music - celebrating the art of improvisational music
Kidd Jordan

Edward "Kidd" Jordan, Saxophones

The legendary saxophonist Kidd Jordan is acclaimed internationally as one of the true master improvisers still performing today. He was recognized as a jazz maverick back in the 1940s intent on exploring jazz rooted music's outer reaches. He was born in Crowley, Louisiana and played in various bands throughout elementary school and high school. His first instrument was the C-melody saxophone followed by the alto saxophone which remains one of his favorite horns. He also plays the soprano, sopranino, baritone saxophone and clarinets. But it is the tenor saxophone that allows Kidd the range to express what he wants to express. He started playing by ear almost from the start playing licks he picked up from the recordings of Charlie Parker and Sonny Stitt. He went to Southern University in Baton Rouge where he studied music education and played in various stage and dance bands, as well as playing baritone saxophone in rhythm and blues bands. Yet, Kidd was always driven to search for something different musically. Even his solos with the R&B groups were noted as "different" by his fellow musicians. He moved away from playing "tunes" in his effort to discover his own musical convictions. He has always been focused on being a musician first and mastering the technique of his horns. For Kidd, technique allows him the freedom to play the saxophone the way he wants to play it. It is the "aesthetic" or feeling of playing that drives Kidd's playing. As Kidd has said "styles are born out of people's technique." When people have enough technique then they can do some things." To this day, Kidd still practices his instruments seriously. He has been known to practice by playing musical phrases in response to bird's and other sounds of nature. For Kidd creating music is all about developing one's ear. As he says, "you have to hear what your trying to get at." Asked to define his work, Jordan calls it "creative improvisational music."

Kidd has been a music educator for over 30 years and is an associate professor of music at Southern University in New Orleans where he directs the jazz studies program. He received OffBeat's first Lifetime Achievement Award for Music Education. In recognition of his great musical achievements, knighthood was bestowed on him by the Republic of France recently where he holds the title Chevalier des Artes et Lettres.

Kidd organized the first World Saxophone Quartet in 1976 that included Julius Hemphill and David Murray. He has amassed a discography of over 30 recordings and has performed in jazz and music festivals around the world including Germany, Netherlands, Finland, France, and Africa, has been a featured performer with the New Orleans Philharmonic, as well as performed with various "pit bands" in support of shows that come through New Orleans. Kidd has been a regular performer at the Visions Festival in New York each Spring. He has played with a diverse range of musical artists including Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Peter Korvald, William Parker, Alan Silva, Louis Moholo, Sunny Murray, Fred Anderson, Hamid Drake, and Cannonball Adderley, as well as vocalists Lena Horne, Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Big Maybelle. For the past three decades or so Kidd has had a highly productive and close relationship with drummer Alvin Fielder. Kidd developed a close musical relationship with innovative pianist Joel Futterman back in the early 90's and they continue to perform and record together. Kidd's first recording was titled, "No Compromise" and that very accurately expresses his personal conviction about his music.

Kidd also raises horses and races a few of them competively. According to Kidd "horseracing is like improvising." "You don't ever know what they are going to do. When you bring them out to track, they may be prepared and all and you say they are going to race like they did last time and they go ahead and do something completing different depending on how they feel, so that's serious improvisation!"