Trumpeter promises a new sound at Glenwood Springs’ Summer of Jazz
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Marlon Jordan spent four days stranded on his roof. He had enough water for three days, but eventually he had to wade through all the muck, past the alligators and water moccasins, for a drink. In his words, “Life gives you things you weren’t prepared for. You’ve got to improvise.”
That’s just like jazz, he said.Marlon, 37, is no stranger to that subject. Born to brass player Edward “Kidd” Jordan and pianist Edvidge Jordan, he grew up in a family of prominent musicians in the world’s jazz capital. He described picking up the trumpet in the fourth grade and attending the famed New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts in his teenage years. At 13, he won a classical concerto competition, open to the all youngsters in the city. At 16, he received a pricey Monet trumpet from none other than Wynton Marsalis. Soon after graduation, he started recording and was touring with Miles Davis. “I’m not trying to blow my own horn,” he said, laughing.No, this isn’t about fame, he explained. Music is simply his life – and almost always has been. As a child, he was surrounded by “the legends around here” he said. Marsalis, Terence Blanchard – he never knew who would be coming over to his family’s home. Needless to say, musical role models were all around him. At first, he just picked up the trumpet because trumpet players looked like a cool bunch. But once he got into it, he realized he had a knack for it. After a few hours, he was blowing scales, and after a week he could play some rudimentary songs. Something changed in him, permanently.”This is me,” he remembered thinking. “And that was it.”It was after high school that his work kicked into high gear. He began spinning off records with CBS and started touring around the world. He still thinks the highlight the of his career was playing with Davis, all those years ago. It wasn’t that the old music vet gave him any advice – he was just real with Jordan. Now, that’s a compliment.
“We just talked like men,” he said. “He told me I had a dark sound and said I sounded like one of his old records.”He may have sounded that way, but Jordan’s the first to admit he was still very, very young. When he struck out on his own, he was inexperienced, not sure how to lead a quintet. He had the talent, the practice and the DNA to make it big in music – but he just hadn’t been knocked around enough to get to that deeper level with his tunes. He didn’t say exactly what changed or how long the shift took, but surely it was a slow evolution, happening as he released four more records, changed labels and explored his different musical styles.Those four days on the roof probably didn’t hurt, either.”That’s why babies can’t play jazz,” he started, “because jazz is all about experience, about life. It’s a life.”After the storm, his house was gone, as was most of his stuff and tons of old records (He did manage to save that Monet trumpet, though). Understandably, all this left him feeling none too creative. What brought him back wasn’t a flash of inspiration but the obvious, biting need to make a living. In 2005, he toured with his sister, Stephanie, as Jazz Ambassadors on a European Higher Ground Relief effort tour, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Since then, he’s been playing live as much as possible, including a show with his family during Summer of Jazz 2006. Tonight, of course, he’ll be here for one more go around.”I’m back in love with my horn again,” he said, obviously pleased.
He then promised a new sound for the show tonight. He didn’t say exactly what that meant, but eluded to something with a little more depth than his work of the past, perhaps with some John Coltrane-esque beats (at least that’s who he’s been studying). Jordan could say, for sure, however, that tonight he’ll be reading the crowd, playing the tempo he thinks they’ll be into. As always, he’ll be “in a whole ‘nother consciousness,” he said, performing not just for the audience, but for himself and God. He also knows in the next couple of months, he’ll be releasing his first record in several years, “The Three Faces of Marlon Jordan,” showing off his jazz, hip-hop and classical chops. Beyond that, however, he has no idea what the future will hold. He just knows he’s a brand new man.”That’s what’s so beautiful about it. That’s why I’m so excited about it,” he said, “because I don’t even know what’s behind door number two.”Sounds just like jazz.Contact Stina Sieg: email@example.comPost Independent Glenwood Springs CO Colorado
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