Kidd Jordan & Hamid Drake, A Night in November: Live in New Orleans (Valid Records)

Kidd Jordan, Hamid Drake, A Night to Remember, Live in New Orleans, album cover

The excitement that prevailed in the atmosphere and music at the Piety Street Studio on November 20, 2011 is remarkably captured on this CD. The members of the audience were well aware that they were about to witness a historic meeting of two free-spirited jazz masters—saxophonist Kidd Jordan and percussionist Hamid Drake—performing one-on-one in a unique, acoustically superior setting.

As the liner notes inform, all the music (with the exception of Jordan’s almost hymn-like solo rendition of “Wade in the Water”) that night was “spontaneously composed” by Jordan and Drake. Thus the titles of the cuts are simply “Alto and Drums,” “Drums,” “Tenor and Drums” and “Tenor.” While the names of the pieces might be straight-forward enough, the music is anything but. The two creative artists, who have worked together many times, leap and soar in a musical conversation that traverses boundaries—from the African continent to futuristic arenas—and becomes timeless.

It’s of particular note that, on the album’s opening selection, Jordan plays alto saxophone, a horn on which he rarely performs, though it’s the one he started out playing before switching to tenor sax. Drake, who utilized both a trap set and a frame drum, brought not only his internationally informed rhythms to the session but also his melodic sense, meeting Jordan’s every move.

The night ends with Jordan blowing with serene spirituality. Drake begins chanting and then laughing as a final “Amen.”