Rhythm guitar — with its bouncing pulse, its swinging elasticity, and the ripe-fruit sound of those strings — isn’t a dying art, as I’ve seen happily on both coasts and overseas.  But the late Steve Jordan was one of the art’s finest creators — hired by Benny Goodman, Vic Dickenson, Ruby Braff, Buck Clayton, and others (the thread here is the enthusiastic advocacy of John Hammond).  Later in his career, Jordan got more opportunities to show off his soloing in support of his dry, witty singing. 

Here he is, captured by my YouTube friend Sfair (I know his real name but keep it to myself) at a National Press Club function in Washington, D.C., on December 4, 1980, with bassist Van Perry, a Virginia stalwart who played so often and so well on Johnson McRee’s Manassas Jazz Festival recordings:

Jordan’s  feature is a 1938 song — music by Matty Malneck, lyrics by Frank Loesser, I GO FOR THAT, a slangy, snappy version of what I call The Insulting Love Song (the earlier MY FUNNY VALENTINE is a much more gentle example) where the lover rues the inadequacies of the loved one and finds him/herself smitten nevertheless.  The version I hear in my head is Mildred Bailey’s, but Steve Jordan is doing a good job, two decades later, of displacing it.

6 responses to “WE GO FOR STEVE JORDAN (and VAN PERRY), 1980

  1. As far as the Smith household is concerned, Steve Jordan can do no wrong!!!

  2. Marvelous… what class! Thank you- obviously Cliff was on the gig with that left ride cymbal cocked-on-angle… oh boy! Dearly loved this earinn session as well… wonderful selection of tunes… Ms. Korns ‘Blue Turning Gray’… yummy! mb

  3. Pingback: WE GO FOR STEVE JORDAN (and VAN PERRY), 1980 | Jazz News

  4. Danny Tobias

    Thanks for posting this. What a great tune!

  5. I agree with both Hal, and Michael B, This is great..Thank you NM

  6. Sonny McGown

    Steve Jordan was one of a kind! This is the type of performance that Steve performed nightly at Blues Alley either in the middle of the set or during intermission. He had a sizeable repertoire of tunes primarily from the 1930s that were lesser known but had both creative lyrics and captivating melodies. Blues Alley in its’ hey day was the place to be in DC. Also, I agree with MB’s observation about Cliff Leeman. The oddly tilted cymbals are a characteristic trademark of Cliff in later years. I also checked my Manassas Jazz Fest Programs and the Festival started the next day (5 Dec) and ran thru the 7th. Cliff was indeed a participant. Thanks Jazz Lives and especially sflair!!

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