Jazz music, news and views

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

RIP Duke Jordan


Too many deaths in the jazz world recently...

As one of bebop's consummate pianists, Duke Jordan is perhaps best known for his late '40s work with Charlie Parker who hired Jordan when he was 25 years old. While this is some of his most famous work, he was a prolific player in his own right (and a composer as well, penning the classic "Jordu," which was first recorded by Clifford Brown and Max Roach). He passed away on August 8th at 84 years old.

Influenced early on by pianists like Teddy Wilson and Art Tatum, he made his debut on 52nd Street in his native New York with Coleman Hawkins's band, then freelanced in various combos until he was discovered and hired by Parker. The '50s found him alongside other saxmen including Stan Getz, Sonny Stitt and Gene Ammons.

While bebop tunes were often short and Jordan's playing was limited to brief solos and even briefer intros, the magic Jordan was able to conjure up during those moments with Parker were personal and potent even in their most distilled form. The world gradually heard more of what he had to say when he began recording for the Danish label Steeplechase after he moved to Denmark in the '70s. He has a number of albums in their catalogue.

For an incredibly thorough discography, though, visit the Jazz Discography Project.

Obituaries:
N.Y. Times
JazzTimes
Rifftides
Blogcritics.org

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