Kidd Jordan | Peter Kowald | Alvin Fielder | Live in New Orleans | No Business Records

Edward “Kidd” Jordan – tenor saxophone | Peter Kowald – bass | Alvin Fielder – drums, percussion

Recorded on 28th April, 2002 at Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center, New Orleans, Louisiana / Coordinator – Eduardo Young / Engineer – John Crutti Jr.. All titles composed by Edward “Kidd” Jordan (Danjor Music, ASCAP), Alvin Fielder (ASCAP) and Peter Kowald (GEMA). Special thanks to Rene Broussard, Rob Cambre and Dr. Jimbo Walsh. Photos and production coordination by Michael Wilderman / Mastering by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios. Design by Oskaras Anosovas. Produced by Danas Mikailionis. Co-producer – Valerij Anosov

Tracklist: Side A – TRIO I – TRIO II Side B – TRIO III (HIGH ALTITUDE) – DRUMS SOLO – BASS SOLO – TRIO IV Side C – TRIO IV (continues) – TRIO V Side D – TRIO V (continues) – TRIO VI (CONCLUDING)

Kidd Jordan | Peter Kowald | Alvin Fielder | Live in New Orleans | no business records

Alvin Fiedler and Kidd Jordan | Photo by Michael Wilderman

There are few left playing to whom the term “master”

can be applied without reservation. Kidd Jordan and Alvin Fielder are two such musicians. Peter Kowald, who was taken from us far too soon, was another. Fielder and Jordan have been communing through deep listening and resultant improvisation since the 1970s, when the Improvisational Arts aggregate was conceived, and these three sessions afford the chance to compare their interactions at pivotal moments of a ten-year period. Though this trio performance with the internationally recognized German bassist is the only documentation of that group, he is clearly a kindred spirit, geographic concerns thrown to the winds as three veterans compose in, for and beyond each moment. The live trio set, ushered in by Kowald’s resonant pizzicato and an invocation from Fielder’s high hat, bristles with sublimated and titanic energy, roaring and surging with oceanic force only to be pulled back, the ebbs showing no diminution of spirit but thriving on subtlety. Listen, during his solo, to the supple but nearly silent descending polyrhythmic spirals and timbral thrusts Kowald floats over Fielder’s delicate brush work. Jordan’s reentrance, after Kowald builds his solo to an inter-register frenzy, is one of the concert’s highlights, saxophone and bass darting and weaving, overlapping, diving headlong into a spicy blend of neo -Schoenbergian pan tonality and “new thing” cries of freedom that will set the coldest heart ablaze, Fielder’s percussion adding layers of transcultural resonance.

By contrast, Fielder’s solo is a study in groove deeper than memory and timbral intricacy, constructed, like Jordan’s beaded curtains of sound, from melodic ideas that converge with the strength of thunder or encapsulate a rainbow’s translucent beauty.

The duo performances jump in and out of historical perspective with ease and precision but with a degree of bittersweet humor. Like Kerouac and Cassady, Jordan and Fielder know time and the double-edged sword of its passing. Monumental swells and ebbs are replaced by telepathic communications, channeling low-register indignation and upper-atmosphere whimsy at lightning speed, as they lay down loose groove to a backbeat, swing in and out of time, tune and mode like dancers, turning to music the tragicomedy of their rough-hewn relationship with a musical establishment that has never accepted them as the geniuses they are. Their audiences understand, screaming ascent as the Houston concert excerpt closes with a gentle smile, recognizing the decades of toil and dedication behind each note; so will you. — Marc Medwin

Kidd Jordan | Peter Kowald | Alvin Fielder | Live in New Orleans | no business records

Peter Kowald | Photo by Michael Wilderman

Kidd Jordan | Peter Kowald | Alvin Fielder | Live in New Orleans | no business recordsKidd Jordan | Peter Kowald | Alvin Fielder

Live in New Orleans

no business records

Edward “Kidd” Jordan – tenor saxophone | Alvin Fielder – drums, percussion | Peter Kowald – bass

Tracklist CD 1: 1. Trio I 12’45” 2. Trio II 9’29” 3. Trio III (High Altitude) 5’11” 4. Drums solo 6’19” 5. Bass solo 6’26” 6. Trio IV 8’40” 7. Trio V 12’57” 8. Trio VI (Concluding) 8’50”

Recorded on 28th April, 2002 at Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center, New Orleans, Louisiana / Coordinator – Eduardo Young / Engineer – John Crutti Jr. All titles composed by Edward “Kidd” Jordan (Danjor Music, ASCAP), Alvin Fielder (ASCAP) and Peter Kowald (GEMA). Special thanks to Rene Broussard, Rob Cambre and Dr. Jimbo Walsh

Edward “Kidd” Jordan – tenor saxophone | Alvin Fielder – drums, percussion

Tracklist CD 2: 1. Liftoff 9’02” 2. Duo Flight 19’45” 3. E. Fashole-Luke 17’10” 4. Tempest NOLA, 2005 9’22” 5. Nameless Sound Duo 10’39”

1-4 tracks recorded in May, 2005 at the Shed Recording Studio, New Orleans, Louisiana by Mark Chatters and Elton Heron. 3rd track composed by Edward “Kidd” Jordan (Danjor Music, ASCAP), all others composed by Edward “Kidd” Jordan (Danjor Music, ASCAP) and Alvin Fielder (ASCAP). 5th track recorded on 19th January, 2012 at Eldorado Ballroom, Houston, Texas / Coordinator – Dave Dove / Engineer – Ryan Edwards

Kidd Jordan | Peter Kowald | Alvin Fielder | Live in New Orleans | no business records


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6 thoughts on “Kidd Jordan | Peter Kowald | Alvin Fielder | Live in New Orleans | No Business Records

  1. Lamenting the plight of unsung artists is a regular pastime of music critics. I do it a lot, wringing my hands and pulling my hair that saxophonist X or pianist Y continues to operate outside the awareness of most of the listening public. I’ve even done it a number of times in print in relation to all three of the musicians featured here.

    The amusing reality is that artists like Jordan and Fielder (Kowald sadly passed away in 2002) could probably care less. They’re not in it for the accolades and have far better things to do with their energy than to try to curry favor. They do what they do because they have to, because it’s as essential as breathing. And people are listening, even if not in the numbers they deserve. Trio & Duo in New Orleans provides another ample (some might argue exhaustive) opportunity for the musicians to play and their audience to listen.

    It collects nearly two and a half hours of music from concert and studio dates recorded around Jordan’s home base.

    Both septuagenarians and separated by just six months in age, Jordan and Fielder are deep colleagues, but their shared discography remains comparatively scant and mostly represented by a number of intimate outings on the now defunct Drimala label. German bassist Kowald was a road warrior and world wanderer versed in the universal language of improvisation. His presence on the first disc makes perfect sense. The 2002 concert marked a follow-up of sorts to his meeting with Jordan and Fielder in 2000 as part of an epic three-month tour of the States encompassing more than 60 performances.

    Clean track sequencing parses the performance into logical entry points. The album opens not with a fulminating roar but rather a gradual and spacious build. Fielder takes up peripatetic brushes and Kowald wields a bow after a stout pizzicato start that makes the most of the venue acoustics. Jordan opens with a filigree tenor purr, eventually trading in an extended string of signature striated patterns and gliding into the upper register. Once here, he enters a stretch of finely-controlled whinnies and shrieks flanked by a steady froth of arco bass and splashing cymbals. Delicate bass harmonics and bells signal the second salvo with Jordan again fluttering from the top most to bottom registers of his horn, sometimes within the confines of a single phrase.

    Strong, keenly paced solos from Fielder and Kowald prime the audience for the even more aggressive interplay that exemplifies the concert’s second half and leads to a surprise section of loping, funereal swing. Just five months later Kowald would be gone.

    The second disc distills down to Jordan and Fielder and while the warm steady thrum of Kowald is absent, the synergy between the two peers is palpable. Fielder openly challenges Jordan and the ensuing friendly fireworks are often spectacular with rhythmic variations often forming the fulcrum of their flights. “Liftoff” wastes no time in working up a fine lather with Fielder stamping out staggered tattoos as Jordan spouts vertical geysers and once again erases register boundaries along the way. “Tempest NOLA, 2005” works off the same initial riff, its title uncannily presaging the common ground the two would soon share in dealing with the devastating aftermath of Katrina. Recorded at a Houston performance in early 2012, the ferocious concluding piece “Nameless Sound Duo” falls outside the strict rubric of the disc title but is a welcome addition in demonstrating the depth of the duo’s bond as undiminished.

    Both concert and studio recordings are beautifully captured with sharp balance and clarity preserved between instruments. Dusted’s Marc Medwin pens a pithy set of liners, putting the music in context and proving my opening point above. In describing the participants, he uses the honorific “master” and stacked against the barrage of sublime sounds it almost seems like an understatement.

    This music is an exciting counterpart to the one Jordan recorded with drummer Hamid Drake released late last year. A 2LP gatefold edition is also available, but it’s limited to the contents of the first disc and a pressing of just 300 copies. Jordan and Fielder may not need my services as a shill, but this set still gets my unreserved recommendation.

  2. The liner notes of this album call Kidd Jordan (ts), Alvin Fielder (dr) and Peter Kowald (b) “masters” and hardly ever has this term been more justified. All of them started in the 1960s, they are veterans of this music, Jordan and Fielder are still active musicians (fortunately Fielder has recovered from serious illness), it is just Peter Kowald who died of a heart attack at the age of 58 at his friend’s William Parker’s home – only five months after this trio performance was recorded in 2002. However, while Jordan’s and Kowald’s careers are very well documented (e.g. there is another new Jordan album with Borah Bergman, William Parker and Michael Wimberly just being released), this cannot be said about the music of Mr Fielder, after all an AACM founding member who played with Sun Ra, Muhal Richard Abrams, Fred Anderson, Roscoe Mitchell, Clifford Jordan or Ahmed Abdullah (among others). This might be due to the fact that he moved back from Chicago to Mississippi to take over his father’s pharmacy in the late sixties but on the other hand he remained a creative musician. His connection with Kidd Jordan goes back to the Improvisational Arts Quintet which they both established in the early 1970s. So, NoBusiness deserves praise just for releasing another collaboration of these two wonderful musicians.

    Usually I do not advise listeners how to listen to an album but in this case it might be interesting to start with the second CD, the Jordan/Fielder duo recorded at the Shed Recording Studios in New Orleans and the Eldorado Ballroom in Houston.

    The first track, “Liftoff”, literally lifts the set off, but not bumpy like an albatross, rather like an eagle that jumps off a ledge to glide through the air. The composition is like an advance notice for the two central pieces, “Duo Flight” and “E. Fashole-Luke”. The first one – a breath-taking 20-minute improvisation – presents both musicians on top of their skills, it seems as if they were dancing with each other – and they do this with such perfection as if they were the Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire of improvised music. I have hardly heard Jordan playing so energetic and boisterous lately and Fielder, who was quoted in George Lewis’s “A Power Stronger Than Itself”, that he wanted to play his bebop as loose as possible and his free music as tight as possible, exactly proves this here. His drum style is highly musical, his technique exquisite – just listen to the cymbal light-footedness in the opening of the track and his solo.

    “E. Fashole-Luke” is based on an addictive sax blues riff and Jordan pulls out all the stops, he gives us everything, his skills, his outstanding technique, his polytonality, his spirituality, his stylistic awareness, and his emotionality. It’s a joyride through great black saxophone music from John Coltrane to Albert Ayler and Roscoe Mitchell, it is no exaggeration to compare Jordan’s and Fielder’s performance here with the one by Coltrane and Rashied Ali on “Interstellar Space”.

    And if you agree with me that this a marvelous duo album then put on the “Trio in New Orleans” CD and you know why I suggested listening to the duo first – because now you can watch how the entering of another master takes these two outstanding musicians to another level. Peter Kowald, possibly the best German free jazz bassist ever, is the ideal reinforcement for Jordan and Fielder. Or as my friend Jochen, a real free jazz aficionado, once told me: “I really miss Peter Kowald because he was able to make a difference, he could turn a good gig into a great one. I especially miss his awesome presence, his unique sound, his intonation, his incredible variability, his musical sense, his ability to play the right note in the right moment.”

    There is nothing left to say and it is something you realize from the very first second of this record: Kowald and Fielder usher us in with the greatest subtlety, Jordan puts on gospel lines before the track takes us to new territory – and the musicians are curious enough to explore this musical area.

    Although the CD information says that there are eight tracks it is actually one concert which is covered here, with beautiful solos interspersed, and an encore. My favorite part, “Trio II”, represents all the qualities this album displays – it is a deep listening experience for the musicians and the audience, it is a service touching the strings of your heart.

    What a great album at the end of a great free jazz year.

  3. Eminent avant-garde saxophonist Edward “KIdd” Jordan doesn’t venture outside the New Orleans area that often, but like- minded artists will occasionally make the trip to the Big Easy to unite in the studio or for a live date. Such is the case here on this 2-disc set, capturing Jordan in trio and duo settings with late, bass great Peter Kowald and a forefather of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, drummer Alvin Fielder.

    The trio performance was recorded in 2002 at the Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center. Fielder’s liaison with Jordan came about in 1975 via several improvisational ensembles, as disc-two highlights a duet performance with the drummer, culled from a 2005 session in a New Orleans studio. No doubt, the musicians craft an open playing field of various cadences, hues and trajectories, spanning a multitude of evolving discourses.

    On the trio date, the musicians enact capacious thematic elaborations amid other passages where all hell breaks loose. For instance on “Trio I,” Jordan’s compressed, orbital phrasings are mimicked by Kowald’s buzzing arco-notes. During several pieces, the saxophonist’s burly, soul-searching notes help rocket the band into parts unknown. As the modestly titled pieces, “Bass solo” and “Drums solo” offer the instrumentalists extended workout space and are presented in sequential order. They close it out with “Trio VI (Concluding),” where Jordan pushes, prods and Fielder dances around the core motif, projecting a blunt, no nonsense driving force. They reach for the stars, amped by Jordan’s full-bodied tone, spiced with a sense of longing.

    The duet outing is assembled with intense and at times, aggressive interactions, consisting of free-bop excursions and the saxophonist’s plaintive cries. The musicians also delve into a bit of extended call and response workouts, and on “Duo Flight,” Jordan imparts a few bars of bluesy abandon, enveloped with a razors-edge. Yet he has a conversation with himself on “E. Fashole-Luke,” largely exercised by alternating between lower and upper-registers. Frankly speaking, the players are at the top of their game here.

  4. A fantastic collection from maverick New Orleans tenor saxophonist Edward ‘Kidd’ Jordan, drummer Alvin Fielder and the late German bassist Peter Kowald. The trio set, recorded months before Kowald’s premature death in September 2002, hears these masters creating radical and soulful music. From Jordan’s full-toned tenor come melodic phrases, righteous honks and bluesy reflections, with Fielder surging in and out of the saxophonist’s lines with propulsive waves of snare and tom. Kowald fills the space with ominous tremolo and pizzicato pulses. In ‘Trio II’ Kowald’s mournful double-stops set the scene for a gorgeous funeral blues from Jordan, while his solo feature sees his bow dancing around the upper registers of the bass, before waddling into the deep. The duets on the second disc see the saxophonist ducking and weaving like a bear wrestling its shadow, or yelping like a sea lion over the hiss and clatter of Fielder’s hi-hat.

  5. Tenor saxophonist Edward Kidd Jordan and drummer Alvin Fielder have been a fixture in their southern outpost for nigh on forty years, but they’ve rarely been heard to such good effect as on Trio and Duo in New Orleans. This wonderful two CD set brings together music from three separate dates. The first disc (also available as a double LP) comprises a 70-minute exchange between the American pair and hugely talented peripatetic German bassist Peter Kowald in April 2002, five months before his untimely death, while the second marries a 2005 studio session from the Americans, with an excerpt from a concert in Houston in 2012.

    The trio work in a rarefied atmosphere of spontaneous interaction, with Jordan in imperious form. It’s not the threesome’s first encounter: a striking selection from a previous meeting in 2000 occurs on Kowald’s posthumous Off The Road (Rogue Art, 2006). Fielder and Jordan are superbly tuned in to each other, exemplified by the way the drummer’s shift to a disjointed clatter breaks Jordan’s flow and nudges him into more abstract territory midway through “Trio I.” Conversely later in the piece, Fielder smoothly adjusts his attack to lock into the saxophonist’s R&B inflected riffs. Such is the practiced give and take that it proves difficult for Kowald to gain purchase initially. He tends to achieve most traction when wielding his bow, when the seesawing conversation with Jordan’s falsetto grabs the ears. Overall it’s a great performance, strongest when Kowald comes onto Jordan’s turf in the later sections, walking powerfully behind the saxophonist’s stratospheric preaching.

    Fine as the trio session is, it’s the studio set which constitutes the highlight of the double header. Captured in close detail, both Jordan and Fielder are at their most engaging. Jordan has melded his short rhythmic phrases, characteristic altissimo squawks and earthy honks into a deeply personal language, both impassioned and incantatory. Fielder makes an accomplished foil, shading the saxophonist, adding dramatic color to his lines, but also laying down a sturdy substructure, recalling the late Denis Charles at times with his tuneful cadences and simple but forceful rhythms. It sounds as if the drummer still abides by his philosophy, related in a 2002 radio interview, to play his free music as tight as possible.

    At just shy of 20-minutes, “Duo Flight” forms a muscular centerpiece, chock full of energy and ideas. Contrasting with the rest of the cuts, “E. Fashole-Luke” makes use of a Jordan tune as the launch pad, evoking Trane in its reiterated high octane theme. It contains a lovely passage from the reedman part ways through where he alternates registers to create a call and response dynamic. The concluding 10-minute “Nameless Sound Duo” comes from another live gig, in Houston in 2012, and while it features some first-rate combinations, doesn’t amplify what has gone before, except in the enthusiastic audience acclamation which acts as a fitting send off for this visceral and exciting collection.

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