DUKE JORDAN Flight To Jordan (Blue Note)
A former Charlie Parker sideman, Jordan was a pianist who recorded just this one album for Blue Note, originally released in 1960. Even the album’s own sleevenotes admit that Jordan had been sidelined in contemporary jazz appreciation, but here he takes something of a back seat in quintet performances of six of his own tunes, fashioning eloquent solos when required but mostly ceding the limelight to trumpeter Dizzy Reece and saxophonist Stanley Turrentine.
The opening title track is possibly the album’s highlight, hard-charging yet perky at the same time. “Split Quick” attempts to repeat its success, but a greater melodic complexity softens its attack. Jordan leads off “Starbrite” with a shimmering introduction, which then gets somewhat trampled on by Reece’s broad-toned trumpet, but at least there’s enough space to contemplate percussionist Art Taylor’s intricate brushwork.
For all its competence, “Flight To Jordan” isn’t an album that inspires. It’s respectable hard bop of a kind that the Blue Note catalogue is awash with, but no greater than that.
Reissued on 180 gram vinyl as part of a somewhat disappointing series sourced from Japan, it sounds a bit brash and brightly-lit, without the easygoing analogue naturalness characteristic of Blue Note reissues emanating from other territories. The thick, glossy packaging is lovely, and the pressing flawless, but the air of luxury is somewhat compromised by a tight-fitting obi that must be manoeuvred out of the way of the sleevenotes with care and patience.