MARLON JORDAN PLAYS THE MUSIC OF MILES, TRANE AND BIRD
THURSDAY, APRIL 28—ZATARAIN’S WWOZ JAZZ STAGE, 1:40 P.M.
New Orleans trumpeter Marlon Jordan is quite familiar with the Jazz Fest audience; he has performed in front of it consistently over the past 30 years. Yet his presence on the music scene since his last record released in 2005 has been somewhat scarce.
Jordan’s relative absence from the spotlight in the years following Katrina shouldn’t be mistaken for a time of leisure and recreation. The trumpeter has been perfecting his technique and writing music with a purposeful devotion that he is not shy to boast about.
“This is going to be a new beginning for me. Everything is right technically and spiritually. I’m there. I’ve never felt like this before,” Jordan says. “I always loved music, but now I have a passion for it. I can’t put the horn down, and I don’t know why. I am a trumpet player, but it’s not feeling like work anymore. I have to have it.”
Jordan, a member of one of the most prominent families of musicians in New Orleans—he’s the son of avant-garde saxophonist Kidd Jordan and classical pianist Edvidge Jordan—has his eyes set on developing a new sense of identity in his music.
“You have to spend time with your instrument to develop your voice,” he says. “That takes life experiences and time, and going through ups and downs, in order to appreciate it. And it all gets into the music.”
With the perspective of resurfacing with a new record that showcases the work he’s put into mastering his instruments over his years away from the scene, Jordan references the resilience of his idols and their approach to practicing. He is fascinated with the stories of Coltrane practicing scales in-between sets at gigs, and of Charlie Parker working on his instrument for some 14 hours a day.
The inspiration he finds in those musicians’ stories, lives and music will be on display in his upcoming Jazz Fest set on April 28 under the Jazz Tent, where he will be surrounded by experienced local musicians Jesse McBride on piano, drummer Adonis Rose and bassist Chris Severin.
The group is expected to play the music of Coltrane, Bird and Miles Davis. Davis had a significant impact on Jordan’s play, career and outlook on music when he invited the young New Orleans trumpeter on tour in the late 1980s, a time when young New Orleans trumpet players like his predecessors Wynton Marsalis and Terence Blanchard were in high demand.
But today, Jordan feels far from his 18-year-old self who signed a major record deal in 1988. “I didn’t know what was going on, I was in the moment. I was just doing what I had to do,” he says. “Now I’ll play something totally different, I don’t know what it is, but it just has to come out.”