Kidd Jordan's Sax is Honored at the Clemente Soto Velez


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A Sax Man of Distinction and That Vision Thing

To the extent that the tenor saxophonist Kidd Jordan is known in the general jazz world, he's known as a New Orleans patriarch and educator. Dig deeper and you might also hear about his long, eclectic career as a sideman and his role in inspiring the formation of both the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the World Saxophone Quartet. But Mr. Jordan, 73, has never made much of a dent as a solo artist, and he still doesn't have an entry in “The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz" (Oxford).

None of which should be seen as a reflection of Mr. Jordan's prowess, or his prominence among a certain adventurous subspecies of jazz fan. At the Vision Festival, held annually on the Lower East Side, he commands a sort of veneration.

On Wednesday June 13th at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, the festival devoted a full evening of programming to Mr. Jordan, bestowing what it calls a lifetime recognition honor. And he earned that distinction, playing hard in four ensembles and presiding over a fifth, in a room that might charitably be described as ventilation challenged.

The group that didn't include Mr. Jordan was a sextet featuring two of his accomplished sons: Marlon, a trumpeter, and Kent, a flutist. Their set, atypical for the festival, involved post-bop standards by John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter. In terms of content and execution, it would have suited a Midtown jazz club.

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