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Clifford Jordan: The Mellow Side

A quiet sweetness that never borders on the saccharin marks this disc. The outing is another successful product of the unique record company-artist relationship that brewed between Clifford Jordan and Mapleshade, a relationship whose fruit ceased with the passing of the great Chicago tenor man. Jordan, joined in largely impromptu conversations and small group-often duet-dialogues, is what this date is about. His collaborators include Julian Priester, keyboardists Larry Willis, Chris Anderson and Mike LeDonne, and drummer Edson Machado.

“Trees” is a delicate lattice work of Jordan’s rarely heard soprano sax and the full trumpet tones of D.C. area artist Kenny Reed (where’s this cat been?) and Willis’ sympathetic piano undergirding. Jordan’s original “Jug’s Groove” finds him conversing with guitarist Rudy Turner, while Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes” is thoroughly examined by Jordan, Reed and Willis, clocking in at 16:30. With tempos never exceeding medium-well, this is a unique addition to the distinguished Clifford Jordan discography.

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