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The Contributors to Appreciations of Kidd are:

The Contributors to Appreciations of Kidd are:





















More to come!

Appreciations of Kidd

JONATHAN BATISTE from a Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp video about Kidd Jordan receiving the Jazz Pioneer award:

"Congratulations, Kidd. Kidd, you have done so much to inspire and to uplift  the youth of New Orleans and the music world across the globe.... I was just 11 years old and came into Camp and you taught me a very valuable lesson--that you can make music anywhere and out of anything." Kidd was playing his saxophone to accompany the creaking of a door. "I said, Wow, that's the real thing. That's jazz. You can make music of anything.... Thank you for everything you do and thank you for being an inspiration in my life and in the life of everybody who's been touched with your music."

JOHN MICHAEL BRADFORD from another Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp video:

" ... The first day I walked in, my teacher was Kidd Jordan... You know, I wanted to leave, I didn't think I could do it, but by the end of the day I was very happy.... I learned so much from Mr. Jordan....  Having that foundation from Kidd Jordan is something I'll never forget.... I'm so honored and blessed to have been part of the camp and I just wish him the best...."



'Once, during a public discussion at New York’s Vision Festival, poet Kalamu ya Salaam asked Kidd Jordan, "Why don't you just play more popular music and make more money?" Jordan didn’t even blink. He felt something stir deep down inside, he said. Ever since he heard Ornette Coleman's “Something Else!!!!” Ever since he heard John Coltrane. He just had to let it out. Simple as that.
In New Orleans, where he's lived most of his life, Jordan once played all sorts of commercially viable stuff: seminal 1950s r&b alongside Art and Aaron Neville in the Hawkettes, Broadway scores for touring productions, session work and gigs with musicians including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder.
In New Orleans, Jordan would be a hero even had he stopped playing decades ago. He has run the Jazz and Heritage Foundation School of Music, the Jazz Studies program at Southern University of New Orleans, and the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp. Anyone under, say, 50, who plays jazz in New Orleans is likely to have been touched deeply and lastingly by Jordan’s teachings.
“If you want to be a star,” Jordan once told me, “that’s one thing. But if you want to be a musician, you’ve got to be on a specific route and stick with it.” Jordan stuck with it. He’s pushed others to stick to their paths, too. All that has made him a star, still shining bright.'


'When I was in high school, Kidd used to lead a big band workshop one evening a week at SUNO. We would play classic big band charts, though I can't recall any titles off hand. Looking back on it, the thing I find most memorable is that we were playing straight ahead jazz. Kidd was doing a community service, training the next generation of musicians. At no point did he try to force us to play his music or any other so called free jazz. Kidd didn't get any kind of pay at all for this. He did it for the love of the music and the love of young musicians.'




'Like all improvisation in whatever art form, Kidd Jordan’s free jazz pushes the envelope. Im-pro-visation is the art of the un-fore-seen. Following his often discordant runs invites us to be as present, as in the moment, as his playing is. What is that next note? Just listen.'


'Kidd Jordan is the epitome of a true teacher.  I often say that as Kidd and his friends Bat (Alvin Batiste) and Clyde (Clyde Kerr Jr.) woke up every morning with the express purpose of teaching somebody’s child how to be a good citizen and an honorable person who cares for others.   Kidd is still teaching critical thinking, teamwork, and discipline – everything needed to be successful in life and in music.
Kidd’s life is like an oxymoron – a glowing example of liberal conservatism -- combining conservative methods of teaching to create liberal ways of thought and expression in music.  His mission has always been to provide the fundamentals that produce the skills needed to play any type of music, free of boundaries of thought or artistic expression.  
He loves to teach beginning musicians.  He is feared, loved and sometimes hated (a strong term) by the young neophyte who lacks the understanding that this is the beginning of the road to excellence.  

This is also a man who feels he has more yet to accomplish in his playing. ”Music is from the cradle to the grave.  I practice every day.”  Therefore, he expects and demands the same discipline.'



'I first heard of Kidd Jordan in June of 1999, the month I moved to New Orleans. The legend – all that session work with R’n’B superstars, the hours of practicing alongside ‘Trane, decade after decade of teaching at SUNO, and, above all, his forging a new music out of the impossible upper register of the sax–seemed too much to be true.

But it was true, and it still didn’t prepare me for the experience of listening to him that first time. Later, when I learned that he had been involved all his life in horse-racing, I understood his music in a new way, for he seems to handle the horn the way a brilliant jockey drives a sprinting thoroughbred.  I remember hearing him at the Dragon’s Den a few years after the hurricane, with Hamid and William, the way, after a searing 40 minutes or so, he started to end the performance, began circling toward a resolution – but then that phase in turn continued another forty minutes, as if he could never exhaust his musical imagination, as if endings are illusory anyway, as if his music, like the ocean, would never stop moving, a living emblem of eternity. 


'The most important memory of my life is having played drums with Kidd

Jordan five times.'


'Ed “KIDD” Jordan
  Master saxophonist, improvisor, mentor & creative genius
He is responsible for the four of us (Julius Hemphill, David Murray, Hamiet Bluiett & Oliver Lake) starting the World Saxophone Quartet.
He is an inspiration to all.
“Kidd” Jordan is a treasure.'


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'The reaction to some people being in the presence of Sir Edward "Kidd" Jordan is he is a complex person. To those of us who know him and consider him family, we know Kidd's day is vey simple: Each day given is a day to practice the saxophone and fundamentals of the instrument. Kidd takes nothing for granted and he doesn't cut corners. He taught us all to do the same,  to be yourself on your instrument and in life. He's like an uncle to me. I am very fortunate to be in that musical family and to perform with Kidd and very grateful for whatever he heard in me to perform with IAQ (The Improvisational Arts Quintet). Even on that bandstand he and Al Fielder and Clyde Kerr, Jr., were always teaching. I couldn't have been born at a better time!  Even though Kidd couldn't set everyone free, I'm glad I got it and I thank Kidd for shining the light on the real music beyond the notes. Lol!

He is a 20th century musical master of the highest degree and should be held as such.  For us, we always knew he was great and special. I was present at the reception when he was given the Order of Arts and Letters designating him as a Knight and champion visionary of the arts. He was the same man before and now, keeping everything very simple making music and loving his family. We as family consider him irreplaceable and love him dearly.'

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ROGER LEWIS via text to Maryse:

'Edward Kidd Jordan was the first baritone saxophone player that I heard playing changes. We used to do a lot of gigs together in the late 50s. He never stopped playing even through the breaks. He practiced all the time! That's why he's so great, I guess! 

I took saxophone lessons from Kidd at SUNO in the late 70s. It was a lot of fun. He's a great teacher.'



'The first time I spoke with Kidd Jordan was at the New Orleans airport twenty years ago, as we both waited to board a plane to New York to attend the Vision Festival. I had been hearing Kidd for years in New Orleans, and he recognized me as someone who attentively listened, but we had never really met. Like many people, I was a bit intimidated by Kidd. The intensity and commitment so evident in his music seemed to present an impenetrable front that could not be easily approached, but that day as Kidd approached me to talk, I found out how wrong I was. And someone who had been a distant hero to me became a close friend.


That day Kidd told me about his love of the Blues and how it meant more to him then “that jazz shit.” He quickly clarified that he didn’t mean the improvised music he now made with his friends but rather the routinized and formulaic music that had become the norm. To me, this one comment sums up Kidd’s commitment to music and to life–the deep emotional expression found in communion with those prepared to comprehend. I have heard Kidd innumerable time in New Orleans, New York, and Chicago, and he always retains the lesson he learned from John Coltrane in Detroit. The commercial appeal of Coltrane was on the wane late in his life as he explored his chosen path, and Kidd was among a handful in the audience. But Trane didn’t care, and he played with fire–a fire that Kidd felt down in his soul and has inspired him ever since. Like Trane, Kidd follows his own path with no compromises.  He doesn’t care about giving the “audience" what they think they want. He cares about reaching YOU at your most human level. And he cares about this very deeply. The world would be a better place if we all took inspiration from his heroic example.

CYRIL NEVILLE via Messenger:

'The first time I saw Mr. Kidd was in my Family living room at 1106 Valence Street! He was in a band with my Big Brother Art and they rehearsed at our house. He has always been an inspiring person as well as a great musician! He was very kind to me as a boy and I learned a great deal about how to carry myself as a musician from him! I was also greatly impressed with his determination to play his horn after suffering a debilitating stroke! He invented a chin strap that allowed him to continue to pursue his dreams and seemed to will himself to defeat his affliction and go on to become the great and accomplished musician and instructor he is today! Kidd Jordan is the epitome of a true New Orleans Root Culture Originator! Congratulations Sir Kidd!'


'Kidd spirit whisperer
Sounds in nature comes through
breath through horn
He knows
been here. Listening
Doesn’t have to impress a soul
His soul impresses us anyway
His music lifts us up
His stories show us how
To move with music as our guide'



'Kidd Jordan is alive and
he is continuingly inspiring us
to do our best
To look for the holy ghost
The angels been with him since he was a boy
Love of wife
Love music
Love life
Keep on keeping on until there is no more
On To Be Kept
Saxophone reeds  Paris…….. Crowley……….Africa
Falling flying beautiful dancing
Playing the music
 that will bring us closer to God
it always did
Those who have played music with him
and those know him must believe
the son never stops shining
the healing vibrations are forever
we are touched by them
sons and daughters
grandsons and granddaughters  
follow the sound of the spirit
Kidd Jordan is now!
I know that



'Jazz Fest

For Kidd

Racing up Esplanade like we’re ten,
high on the last show, hungry for more.  
We’ve studied the grid like an ancient scroll
strategized and negotiated plans.  
Irma’s at 3 and Jack’s at 4.  
We’ll do both!  
Weaving through crowds, we dart under tents, escape the rain
trade bites of gumbo, shrimp po’ boys, and boudin
catch the bus back to The Quarter.  
Gotta hurry.  Can’t be late.  
Hymns from The Gospel Tent pumping through our veins
we sashay up temple-like stairs
our shoes tapping out beats.
We’ve saved the best for last.
We are going to the River Niger.
Make a joyful sound ‘cause we’re going to see Kidd at the U.S. Mint!'




He be demonic
angel at play, filling our
old worlds with new sounds  

Younger than he looks
his is an ancient blessing
man masters metal

Kidd is a grown ass
griot whose tongue teaches all us
to scream, shout, and sing

He fills our ears, makes
sonic suggestions, we can,
we should be better'



'in my opinion, edward kidd jordan is one of the outstanding musicians of the 20th and early 21st centuries. his work as a saxophonist, an improviser, a bandleader and educator is unsurpassed in our culture and his leadership of the New Orleans creative music community has had an impact almost beyond comprehension. i've had the pleasure of performing my poetry with Kidd and the occasion remains one of the high points of my residency in New Orleans in the 1990s. Plus he has given birth to and nurtured children who are remarkably striking musicians themselves.'




When I was contemplating moving to New Orleans in 2004, after 30 years in NYC and producing artists such as Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Don Cherry, Charles Gayle, and The Revolutionary Ensemble, among others, Trudy Morse, my bag-lady friend who turned out to be a millionaire who traveled the world with Cecil and held Sunny’s hand when he died, told me that the first thing I had to do was to call Kidd Jordan. So, I checked him out and, frankly, he scared me to death. I’d already been to Mars, Venus, and Saturn, but Jupiter scared the crap out of me. I demurred.

A few years after that I became involved with the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp and there he was, the main man, and he was both feared and revered. I saw him conduct a few rehearsals and here was a man who commanded respect, and who was strict with his students, no kidding around, respectful but demanding. It was clear that his expectations of his students caused them to exceed their own expectations of themselves. It seemed to me that he did the same thing for the rest of the faculty, half of whom seem to be related to him, or at least defer to him as children who might defer to a revered father they loved.

I kept my distance. I didn’t want his laser focus on me because I knew he’d see right through me. But then one day he looked up as I came out of a room with a squeaky door and he said, “You could make music with that”. I wasn’t sure if he was talking to me but he pointed to the door and asked, “You heard that?”

Fast forward a few years and I met Rachel and then Stephanie and I’d met Marlon and Kent so it became possible for me to meet and actually talk to Mr. Jordan. It’s often said that a true artist listens more than he plays and that was certainly the case with Mr. Jordan. And talk about being put on the spot! When Mr. Jordan is listening you better be saying something. Even his unspoken expectations make you a better thinker, a better player.

I was fortunate to be his “escort” when he received his honorary doctorate from Loyola a few years ago and I just wish he had played for those students who were drinking from pint bottles in the front row, but it was enough for me that he spoke truth in his gravely socce voce, as if daring them to listen. Mr. Jordan sees and hears all, making art and artists as much from what he plays and says as from what he doesn’t.

The last time I had the chance to spend time with Mr. Jordan it was in my house this past June when Rachel and Stephanie brought him over to listen to music. I played him some unreleased recordings by Ornette Coleman, recorded in 1962 with Charles Moffett and David Izenson, and he cried, which made me cry, as we shared sublime music from time past by one of the great heroes of the music whom we both knew and loved. As Ornette’s producer and manager, I was well aware of his affection for and knowledge of the artists in New Orleans, from Ed Blackwell to Ellis to Kidd. “There’s music being made in New Orleans”, Ornette said to me once. “There’s a great man there I hope you will meet someday. His name is Kidd Jordan.”

Kidd Jordan could have been on any stage in this world but he chose the home stage. He chose to serve the community into which he was born and into which he and his wife brought a full house of musicians, teachers, and artists, a family band. New Orleans has not been without its patriarchs of music but you can count them on one hand. And from this hand came the music of America, the soul of a country, the insistence on the creative abilities of all people to make this world a better place. Kidd Jordan is one of its heroes. We love you, Mr. Jordan! Thank you for all that you’ve done to help other people and for the music you have created, encouraged, and inspired.'

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