Duke Jordan: Flight to Jordan


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Yesterday, I posted on pianist Duke Jordan's first trio leadership session, in 1954. Today, I want to share one of his finest albums, Flight to Jordan, his first and only Blue Note release. The album is solid for several reasons: the group is tight and in the groove; all of the tracks, except I Should Care, were originals by Jordan; and the distinct instrumental personality of each individual member came together to create a gorgeous sound.

Recorded in August 1960 at Rudy Van Gelder's new studio in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., the quintet featured Dizzy Reece (tp), Stanley Turrentine (ts), Duke Jordan (p), Reggie Workman (b) and Art Taylor (d). This was a classic Blue Note hard-bop session. The Jamaican-born Reece plays beautifully here, with a sly warmth and crying tone while Turrentine steers through the melody with his big, dry, bluesy horn. I love Workman's pronounced, moody bass and Taylor's sharp and hissing drums. For his part, Jordan unfurls beautifully crafted chords, and his solos on songs such as Split Quick are exceptional and flawless.

Rather surprising that this group wasn't asked to record a few more albums for producer Alfred Lion. Jordan certainly had plenty of original material to offer up. Perhaps with Horace Silver, Hank Mobley and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Blue Note's quintet quota was more than met and another hard bop group didn't make much sense. Or more than likely, each member had other playing and recording obligations.

Whoever brought these musicians together had tremendous foresight. Somehow, that person knew they would work fabulously together as a team and that solos would be juicy and distinct. At the recording's center is Jordan's creative pulse and sophisticated attack.

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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