in a tribute to the fabulous Lena Horne on Sunday, February 18, 2013 at 8:30pm on the Ronnie Wells Main Stage at the Hilton Hotel. The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, in the grand tradition of the East Coast Jazz Festival has become a mid-winter tradition in the Washington, DC metro region, attracting thousands of jazz enthusiasts from across the eastern seaboard. The three-day festival which runs from February 16 – 17 also features organ guru Dr. Lonnie Smith; bandleader Orrin Evans; saxophonist Tim Warfield; and Paul Carr among others jazz greats.
Songstress Stephanie Jordan, a Howard University graduate will fill the air with her signature sound of jazz standards from the Big Band era. The show will include highlights from Jordan’s self-produced CD; “Stephanie Jordan Sings A Tribute to the Fabulous Lena Horne” which honors the legendary Grammy Award winner who also starred in many films. Stephanie who had the privileged of mentoring under the guidance of Shirley Horn says that it was actually Lena Horne who served as her first introduction to great jazz singers. As a little girl I wanted to be Lena Horne."
She adds, “What better place to honor such a great singer than where I got my professional start. The D.C. area means so much to me. It welcomed me back and gave me comfort for two years following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. I will never forget what the folks at A Wider Circle and others did for me in a time of need.”
Jordan made her debut at Takoma Station Jazz Club years ago when she joined the Doug Carne Band in an unrehearsed rendition of “I Remember April.” Within a few months she developed a loyal following and became much sought after. She has performed at many of the Washington, D.C. jazz haunts such as Twins Jazz Lounge, Blues Alley, and Carter Baron Amphitheater.
The Washington Post boast of her Kennedy Center performance, “Contributing intimate and thoroughly enjoyable interludes were . . . New Orleans-bred vocalist Stephanie Jordan, who performed with a quartet that featured her brother Marlon on trumpet. A poised, soulfully articulate vocalist, Jordan turned in a performance that warmly evoked the influence of Abbey Lincoln, Shirley Horn, Carmen McRae and other jazz greats.”
Following her performance with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Chicago Tribune’s leading art critic Howard Reich wrote, “The woman can sing and indisputably knows how to reach out across the footlights . . . bringing heft to music of the Gershwins and Cole Porter without pushing volume levels. Clearly she values plush sound and knows how to produce it.” Music critic James Walker added, “Stephanie Jordan . . . stepped in and simply mesmerized the near capacity Harris Theater crowd with a sparkling performance that surely put her in good stead with the astute Chicago audience. . . . “
Bill Milkowski of JazzTimes Magazine writes of her Jazz at Lincoln Center performance; “Stephanie Jordan, a standout here, was the real discovery of the evening. Her haunting rendition of (Here’s To Life) this bittersweet ode associated with Shirley Horn was delivered with uncanny poise and a depth of understated soul that mesmerized the crowd and registered to the back rows. Singing with clarity of diction that recalled Nat “King” Cole . . .”
Jazz at Lincoln Center notes, every so often a new voice stands up and proclaims itself, but few do so with such supreme depth and understated soul."
Ms. Jordan is the fifth performer to emerge from a family of New Orleans bred musicians. As the daughter of renowned Avant-jazz saxophonist and teacher Edward “Kidd” Jordan, Stephanie’s musical roots run deep.
The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival (MAFJ) is presented in the true spirit and intent of the former East Coast Jazz Festival (ECJF). Founded in 1992 by vocalist/vocal educator Ronnie Wells, for the next 15 years the ECJF was produced by and benefited The Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Fund, Inc. (FMJS). ECJF was originally created in honor of Elmore “Fish” Middleton, a Washington, DC jazz radio programmer, whose commitment to promoting jazz music and supporting emerging jazz artists became the guiding principle behind the festival.
The mission of the FMJS was “…to assist emerging jazz artists throughout the nation in their educational and artistic development; offer a wider base for the presentation of jazz; and insure the continuation of jazz education and performance in public schools and institutions of higher learning.” That mission directly mirrors the intent of the Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival.
The Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival represents an auspicious renewal of the spirit and intent of the ECJF, as a showcase for some of the DC area’s finest established and emerging artists, student ensembles, and a healthy dose of renowned touring jazz artists as well. MAJF is designed to take the ECJF mid-winter jazz festival tradition to the next level and to further enhance arts & culture in the Washington, DC region.