04/25/12 By Vincent Sylvain
New Orleans Jazz Fest presents the Stephanie Jordan Big Band in a Tribute to Lena Horne this Friday in Zatarain's / WWOZ Jazz Tent
Yesterday When I Was Young
NEW ORLEANS – The Stephanie Jordan Big Band performs this Friday, April 27, 2012 at 4:00 PM in the Zatarain’s / WWOZ Jazz Tent at the 2012 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Presented by Shell.
Stephanie Jordan will fill the air with her signature Big Band sound continuing her signature trademark of singing jazz standards. The show will include tunes from her newly released self-produced CD, “Stephanie Jordan Sings a Tribute to the Fabulous Lena Horne; Yesterday When I Was Young” which honors the legendary Grammy Award winner who starred in many films and whose one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music (1981), was hailed as her masterpiece.
"Great lyrics permeate this beautifully rendered homage, and Jordan has the skill sets to do them justice-a voice that projects from a whisper to a scream, impeccable diction, dead-center pitch, fluid phrasing. Backed by a breathe-as-one 8-piece unit of top-shelf New Orleanians that sounds twice its size and counterstated by a cohort of virtuoso soloists, she finds fresh, unfailingly swinging approaches to this well-traveled repertoire, melding into a personal argot elements garnered from such distinguished mentors as Shirley Horn, Abbey Lincoln, Nancy Wilson-and Lena Horne herself-while sounding like no one other than Stephanie Jordan."
The performance promises to offer Jordan a magnificent platform on which to showcase her exuberant spirit and abundant talent, but also contains an autobiographical component. The back story starts in the spring of 1983, when Horne visited New Orleans for the third and final time, bringing her one-woman show to the Saenger Theater for several weeks. The contractor was Jordan's father, Edward "Kidd" Jordan-best known as an outcat improviser who navigates the interstellar spaces of late period John Coltrane, but also a distinguished educator and first-call session musician. He procured tickets for his family.
"I have witnessed hundreds of performances, by a lot of big-name singers and that one never left me," says Jordan . . . "That night was the first time I'd ever witnessed a true jazz singer with everything-the fame, the fortune, the beauty, the style, the wit, the charm, the big band." Jordan continues. "After she did some subtle things where she talked about her life, she sang 'From This Moment On,' which blew me away. The whole theater was on edge. Then, when she sang 'Yesterday When I Was Young,' everyone jumped up and erupted. I had never witnessed one person on stage send an audience into frenzy like that. It was like, 'Oh! This is jazz singing, for real . . .'"
"The album's title track, Yesterday When I Was Young, a Charles Aznavour gem that Horne documented on the 1969 LP Lena and Gabor. Jordan's sodium pentothal treatment-the truth WILL be told-is evocative of the magical phrasing of Shirley Horn, a close friend (of Jordan) from D.C. days."
Jordan's only regret is that Horne isn't around to hear this heartfelt offering. "I was two years into doing tributes to her, when she died," she says. "It was devastating to me.
The full line-up of musicians includes; Emmy Award recipient Mike Esneault, Arranger, Piano; Bobby Campo, Trumpet; Blake Daniels, Trumpet; Troy Davis, Drums and Percussions; Tony Dagradi, Baritone Sax; B.J. McGibney, Trombone; Roderick Paulin, Tenor Sax; Chris Severin, Bass; John Bishop filling in for Steve Masakowski, Guitar; Kent Jordan, Flute; Marlon Jordan, Trumpet; and a special appearance by Rachel Jordan, Violin.
Jordan’s new CD will be available for sale on site in the Jazz Fest Music Store; as well as is available at the Louisiana Music Factory, Jim Russell Record, and for download at CD Baby and Amazon.com.
This past fall, Jordan concluded taping a movie soundtrack in which Stephanie makes an appearance in Lee Daniels’ upcoming production of “The Paperboy” which co-stars Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, and John Cusack among others. This preceded her recording of “Christmas with the New Orleans Ladies of Jazz” CD produced by her sister Rachel Jordan. The album features features New Orleans' renowned jazz divas; Germaine Bazzle, Leah Chase, and Stephanie Jordan performing some of their favorite holiday tunes with the Music Alive Ensemble.
Jordan’s concert with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble at the Harris Theater where she was a last minute replacement for four-time Grammy nominee Ledisi led Chicago Tribune’s leading art critic Howard Reich to proclaim, “The woman can sing and indisputably knows how to reach out across the footlights . . . Jordan showed ample voice, bringing heft to music of the Gershwins and Cole Porter without pushing volume levels. Clearly she values plush sound and knows how to produce it.”
Music critic James Walker added, “Stephanie Jordan . . . stepped in and simply mesmerized the near capacity Harris Theater crowd with a sparkling performance that surely put her in good stead with the astute Chicago audience. . . . She was at ease from her opening medley of "On A Clear Day," "I'm Beginning To See The Light" and "Come Fly With Me." Her infectious smile and charisma was ever present and she had this crowd on the edge of their seat until she left the stage several hours later singing "From This Moment On."
A member of New Orleans' renowned Jordan Family of Jazz whose father is Kidd Jordan; and siblings Kent, Marlon and Rachel, Stephanie is consistently praised for her poise, elegance, and soulful articulation. She draws frequent comparisons to her mentor—the legendary jazz chanteuse Shirley Horn—as well as Abbey Lincoln, Carmen McRae, Diana Krall, and Nancy Wilson.
Jordan’s April 27, 2012 Jazz Fest performance will be broadcast live by radio station WWOZ 90.7 fm in New Orleans and on the web at www.wwoz.org. She is also scheduled to appear on NPR's Morning Edition, at 89.9 WWNO with Dianne Mack at 7:35 a.m. on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at www.wwno.org.
Started in 1970, the Jazz & Heritage Festival continues to showcase the most important names in music history alongside many of Louisiana's favorite entertainers. A true heritage festival, Jazz Fest stands alone in presenting the highest caliber artists in such varied genres as gospel, blues, traditional and contemporary jazz, rock, pop, R&B, Cajun, zydeco and much more.
Add Stephanie Jordan to your Jazz Fest calendar by visiting http://lineup.nojazzfest.com/band/stephanie-jordan or www.StephanieJordan.com.
More Articles in Community Articles
Giacomo Gates: “Everything Is Cool” at SOUTH Jazz Parlor
LiveIt!Live - Straight from Chez Josephine
Portinho, in his own words
Portinho, in his own words
Hristo Vitchev Quartet LIVE at Kuumbwa Jazz Center - July 7th
First Orbit Sounds Music