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Jazz saxophonist “Kidd” Jordan has died at the age of 87

NEW ORLEANS — Jazz saxophonist and music teacher Edward “Kidd” Jordan died in his sleep on Friday surrounded by his family at his New Orleans home, family publicist Vincent Sylvain said.

He was 87.

Throughout his 50-year career, Jordan has demonstrated his musical talent throughout New Orleans while collaborating with music legends such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and others.

Jordan was born in Crowley in 1935, moved to New Orleans at the age of 20 and founded The Improvisation Arts Quintet in 1975. every artist becomes an ear, an eye and above all a heart for the creative spirit soul.”

He was a music professor at Southern University of New Orleans and later became the chair of the university’s Jazz Studies Program.

During his 34 years at SUNO, “He shared his vision of improvisation and encouraged students to find their authentic creative voice,” Sylvain said. “Mr. Jordan’s legacy is reinforced by his insistence that there is one crucial element in his students’ music – originality. And he practices what he preaches.”

Jordan was also an instructor at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation School of Music for 25 years and served as artistic director of the Louis Armstrong Satchmo Jazz Camp. In 2006 he retired.

“Kidd dedicated his life to teaching youth of all ages. His death marks the end of an era of music education in New Orleans,” said Jackie Harris, executive director of the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Educational Foundation.

“His spirit and determination was a shining example that gave musicians the confidence to express themselves with ‘No Compromise,’” Harris said, referring to Jordan’s debut album, No Compromise.

Prominent alumni include Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Jon Batiste, Donald Harrison Jr., Tony Dagradi, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and “Big” Sam Williams.

Jordan also tutored his seven children, Edward Jr., Kent, Christie, Paul, Stephanie, Rachel, and Marlon. Four of them became professional musicians: Kent on flute, Stephanie on vocals, Rachel on classical violin and Marlon on trumpet.

In 1985, the French Ministry of Culture anointed him a Knight or Chevalier des Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, a prestigious award for outstanding artistic or literary work. Jordan also received Lifetime Achievement Honoree recognition at Vision Festival XIII in New York in 2008 and was named a “Jazz Hero” by the Jazz Journalist Association in 2013.

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