October 1997

Marlon Jordan

Back on the tracks after parting with his former record company, 27-year-old trumpeter Marlon Jordan is in top form as he dramatizes a warm session of seven mostly-Coltrane tunes on his new Arabesque disc, Marlon’s Mode.

Since his last CBS album, Undaunted, was released in 1993, Jordan has switched labels, recovered from a serious auto accident, had a second daughter, and moved his family from Southern Ohio to hometown New Orleans, where he’s now teaching at a private all-girl school and participating in the lively local jazz scene.

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Ken Franckling

Marlon Jordan

“I had a lot more time to think about what I was doing and time to practice and to get down what I really wanted to get down on this album,” says Jordan. “I chose to focus on ’Trane, to try to get the feeling of his music because I really like where he was at all the time. He was a big hero of mine, even though he wasn’t a trumpet player.”

Marlon’s Mode picks up that swinging, Deep South sound of earlier albums with Marlon playing his rich-sounding Monette trumpet over ingrained swinging grooves created by his regular drummer, Troy Davis and sub Jason Marsalis. Clarinetist Alvin Batiste (Marlon’s uncle) and saxophonist Victor Goines enhance the album beautifully, as do non-New Orleans musicians-pianist Victor Atkins from Birmingham, who’s played in Delfeayo’s group, and bassist David Pulphus from St. Louis, who’s backed trumpeter Terence Blanchard.

Batiste’s playing adds a certain level of sophistication to the session, a richer sound. “I really was pleased about the way it came out,” says Jordan. “I think it’s my best record to date.”

While Jordan says the soured record deal cost him as far as not being able to get out in public and tour, he’s happy to be with Arabesque, where he hopes to have a chance to show off his classical chops as well.

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