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Kidd Jordan to Receive 2009 Asante Legend Award

SOURCE: Published: 2009-05-31
Kidd Jordan Edward Kidd Jordan has been announced as a recipient of the 2009 Asante Awards in the area of Music Education; The Year of the Legends.The 2009 Asante Awards and Festival will held at the Mahaila Jackson Theatre of Performing Arts in New Orleans, Louisiana in the famed Louis Armstrong Park/Congo Square on Wednesday, July 1, 2009. Produced by NOLA.TV, this year's event pays tribute to New Orleans Legends in the field of Jazz, Music Education, Theatre, Gospel, Spoken Words, Business, Civic, Culinary, Fashion, and the Arts.

In addition to Kidd Jordan, this years' recipients in the area of music includes; Harold Battiste, Ellis Marsalis, Germaine Bazzle, Deacon Jon, Dr. John, Fats Domino, Herbert Hardesty, Luther Kent, Larry Sieberth, Irma Thomas, Wardell Quezerque, and the Reverend Lois Dejean. The full day celebration includes a festival from 9:30 am – 5:30 pm, followed by the Awards Ceremony, “An Evening of Silk, Satin and Sandals" which runs from 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm. All event activities are free and open to the public.

Indie Jazz aptly describes Sir Edward “Kidd" Jordan as a “genteel man" who is “probably the single most under-documented jazz musician of his generation, a fact that is even more remarkable when you consider that he is also one of the busiest musicians in the world." Jordan was recognized as a jazz maverick back in the 1940s intent on exploring jazz rooted music's outer reaches.

Mr. Jordan earned his degree in music from Southern University and A&M College in 1955. He later earned his master's degree in music from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois where he studied under Drs. J. Roger Miller, Roger Schueler and Jean Northrup. Mr. Jordan's post-graduate summer studies lead him to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where he studied under Fred Hemke who doubled as a reed maker.

Born in Crowley, Louisiana on May 5, 1935, he started playing by ear from listening to licks he picked up from the recordings of Charlie Parker and Sonny Stitt. That was the beginning of Kidd Jordan's musical odyssey. It was there that he learned to play saxophone from Joseph Oger, a French-Canadian teacher. His growth as a musician later continued at Ross High School in Crowley where he encountered Southern University alums Emmett Jacobs and William Byrd. When Mr. Jordan landed in Baton Rouge from 1952 to 1955 he advanced his music studies under Southern's band director T. Leroy Davis and woodwind teachers John Banks and Huel Perkins. At Southern he also connected with another soon-to-be musical legend, his band mate and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brother Alvin Batiste.

After his years at Southern, Mr. Jordan began his journey to share his knowledge of music. Mr. Jordan began his formal teaching career in 1955 at Bethune High School in Norco, Louisiana. At one time he spent time in New Orleans' historic Faubourg Trem as an instructor at the William Houston School of Music. It was in 1972, however, that he arrived at another historic place, Pontchartain Park the home of Southern University at New Orleans; and he taught there until 2006.

Mr. Jordan's legacy is solidified by his insistence that his students' music contain one critical element--originality. And he practices what he preaches. Mr. Jordan once said, “Nowadays everybody just wants to play the same stuff that everybody else is playing. Same solos, same licks, and I can see that, because everybody wants to be accepted, but I don't care about that. The minute someone wants to pat me on the back about something is the minute I'm ready to leave. You've got to know yourself and what you're capable of doing and how you want to do it."

His instruments are tenor, baritone, soprano, alto, sopranino and c-melody saxophones as well as contrabass and the bass clarinets. He has performed and recorded with such legends as Cannonball Adderley, Fred Anderson, Ornette Coleman, Ed Blackwell, Ellis Marsalis, Ray Charles, Cecil Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Ed Blackwell, The Temptations, Big Maybelle, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Peter Korvald, William Parker, Alan Silva, Louis Moholo, Sunny Murray, Harnid Drake, and Ellis Marsalis, just to name a few. A big part of Mr. Jordan's rsum is the Improvisational Arts Ensemble a group he founded with drummer Alvin Fielder, trumpeter Clyde Kerr, Jr. and bassist London Branch. The inclusion of the late Alvin Thomas transformed the group into the Improvisational Arts Quintet.

Kidd organized the first World Saxophone Quartet in 1976 that included Julius Hemphill, David Murray, Harniet Bluiett, and Oliver Lake. 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.

Mr. Jordan shared his passion for music with scores of students who attended SUNO or participated in on-campus programs. Mr. Jordan's work also included founding such programs as the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp and the Heritage School of Music.

His work has been documented by CBS News 60 Minutes and he was honored with Offbeat magazine's first Lifetime Achievement Award for Music Education. In 1985 the French Ministry of Culture bestowed knighthood on Mr. Jordan as a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the French government's highest artistic award for his work as an educator and performer. In 2008 Mr. Jordan was also named a Lifetime Achievement Honoree at the Vision Festival XIII in New York City.

In 2008, The Southern University at New Orleans Foundation honored Mr. Jordan during their annual BASH III, which recognized outstanding contributions to the university system. The virtuoso unselfishly shared his gift of and passion for music for 51 years, 36 of which he spent at Southern University at New Orleans. In June of 2009, he will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Preservation Resource Center during their 9th Annual Ladies in Red Event, and NOLA.TV's Asante Awards respectively.

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.

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 you're trying to get at." Asked to define his work, Jordan calls it “creative improvisational music."

Although Mr. Jordan's dedication to music education can safely be described as unmatched, his dedication to his family has been immeasurable. Through the years he has been able to boast being the husband of Edvidge Chatters Jordan and the father of Edward, Jr., Christie, Paul, and four children who are professional musicians; Kent, a highly regarded flutist; Stephanie, a jazz singer who critics have compared to Shirley Horn and Nancy Wilson; Rachel, a classical violinist and music instructor at Jackson State University; and Marlon, one of the world's top trumpeter. Mr. Jordan even found a horse racing and training partner in his nephew Maynard Chatters, Jr.
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