Trumpeter Marlon Jordan was one of the "Young Jazz Lions" who were signed, recorded and promoted on major record labels. He recorded three impressive LPs for Columbia from 1998 to 1992, For You Only; named "one of the best debut albums of the year" by the Washington Post, Learson's Return, and The Undaunted, and one for the Arabesque label entitled Marlon's Mode in 1997.
"The comparisons of Jordan's style to artists such as Charlie Parker and John Coltrane put him in the upper echelon of jazz history. However, he has the resume and the style that would be hard, if not impossible, for anyone of his own generation to beat".
Marlon is the youngest of seven children of musician-educator Kidd and Edvidge Jordan, a classical pianist. "I started out playing saxophone, violin and drums," says Marlon, "but the trumpet was the instrument that stuck with me." Marlon recalls his father literally taking him on the bandstand "even before I really knew how to play. He'd introduce me to all the musicians, and they'd call me up on the stand. They'd say, 'Come on. That's Kidd's son. Let him play."
As he continued his musical studies he had the day to day inspiration of Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, and many others to draw on. The young musicians often hung out at the Jordan household where they would practice music with Kent Jordan and take lessons from Kidd. Marlon graduated from the famed New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts.
An accomplished classical musician as well, Marlon has performed solo with the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra but his true joy is his constant performance in the streets and nightclubs of New Orleans and Brazil.
Marlon took his quintet on the road, joining Wynton Marsalis, Miles Davis and George Benson as a headlining act in a series of JVC Festivals produced by George Wein in Atlanta, Dallas and other cities. They also played in some of the country's top jazz clubs, including the Blue Note and the Ritz, highlighted by a run at the Village Vanguard.
His latest album, Marlon Jordan featuring Stephanie Jordan, You Don't Know What Love Is announces the return of an exceptional trumpeter. It also heralds the recording debut of a new singer, his sister Stephanie and showcases an incredibly talented musical family. This dancing and delicious document reveals a mature artist who sounds like himself. You can hear Jordan's clean, boppish lines laced with power, and an encyclopedic knowledge of the entire jazz trumpet tradition, signed in own unique sonic signature. The setting for this session finds its precedent in the immortal jazz albums, Clifford Brown with Strings, and Bird with Strings. But what makes this CD different is that it features the Jordan
family. Stephanie's tone and diction combine Nancy Wilson's razor-sharp diction and phrasing with Shirley Horn's economy. Saxophonist Edward "Kidd" Jordan, a pioneer artist and educator, was instrumental in forming The World Saxophone Quartet is the patriarch. Marlon's older brother, Flutist Kent, also recorded a number of well-crafted recordings on Columbia from 1984 to 1988. The Peabody-trained violinist Rachel is a former member of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and a music teacher at Dillard University , the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Jackson State University and currently teaches for the Jefferson Parish School System Talented Music Program.
With a Crescent City rhythm section consisting of drummer Troy Davis, bassist David Pulphus, and pianist Darrell Lavigne, who also wrote the string arrangements, Stephanie and Marlon deliver a number of standards in the classic moods and grooves full of the Negroidal rhythmic gravity we call swing. "My Favorite Things," get things rolling, with Marlon's full-bodied clarion calls beautifully counter pointed by his father's torrid, "sheets of sound" solo. "I wanted to come up with a tune that my father can be included on, and be himself, Marlon said.Coltranemade "My Favorite Things" famous, and my dad is dealing with [Coltrane's] Live in Seattle and beyond."
Uncle Alvin Batiste's pithy clarinet highlights the waltzy modal "All Blues," from the Miles Davis masterpiece Kind of Blue. "I opened for Miles," Marlon proudly proclaimed, "and I wanted people to know that I can play in that vein." Marlon's Latin lilt on "Flamingo" follows Wynton's recording of it on his Standard Time Vol. 4 and features cousin Jonathan Bloom on percussion. Another uncle, trombonist Maynard Chatters, and his son, trumpeter Mark, round out this exceptional ensemble. This recording can be summed up with a riff on an old saying: The family that swings together, stays together.
He and his siblings rendition of Here's to Life from their live performance during Jazz at Lincoln Center Higher Ground Benefit Concert appear on the Blue Note Records CD.