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Marlon Jordan Plays the Harlem Renaissance
(Published: February 17, 2019)

The music of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday

Music Alive Ensemble partnership with NOJM presents jazz trumpeter Marlon Jordan in concert on Friday, March 22, 2019 at 7:00 PM at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Mint (400 Esplanade Ave. New Orleans) in "Marlon Jordan Plays the Harlem Renaissance". Jordan will perform the music of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and others from the HARLEM RENAISSANCE era.

The Harlem Renaissance was the development of the Harlem neighborhood in New York City as a black cultural mecca in the early 20th Century and the subsequent social and artistic explosion that resulted. Lasting roughly from the 1910s through the mid-1930s, the period is considered a golden age in African American culture, manifesting in literature, music, stage performance and art.

African Americans had endured centuries of slavery and the struggle for abolition, followed by the end of Reconstruction, disenfranchisement and Jim Crow laws which led thousands from the Deep South to head north in search of a new life. By 1920 this GREAT MIGRATION resulted in some 300,000 African Americans having moved from the South with Harlem being one of the most popular destinations for these families, igniting an explosion of cultural pride.

The music that percolated in and then boomed out of Harlem in the 1920s was jazz, often played at speakeasies offering illegal liquor. Jazz became a great draw for not only Harlem residents, but outside white audiences also. No aspect of the Harlem Renaissance shaped America and the entire world as much as jazz with its syncopated rhythms and improvised instrumental solos. IMPROVISATION meant that no two performances would ever be the same. Some of the most celebrated names in American music regularly performed in Harlem-Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Jelly Roll Martin, Fats Waller and Cab Calloway, often accompanied by elaborate floor shows.

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. His latest album, Marlon Jordan featuring Stephanie Jordan, You Don't Know What Love Is marked the return of an exceptional trumpeter.

"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".

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.

Marlon is the youngest of seven children of musician-educator Kidd and Edvidge Jordan, a classical pianist. 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.

The Marlon Jordan featuring Stephanie Jordan, You Don't Know What Love Is, CD "...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 full CD "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...."

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.

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