Edward "Kidd"

Edward “Kidd” Jordan

He // Him // His

[ID: Edward “Kidd,” a Black man with gray hair, a printed t-shirt, jeans, and his glasses low on his nose, sits holding his saxophone.]

Jazz Musician, Saxophonist, and Educator
New Orleans, LA
2021 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Saxophonist and music educator Edward “Kidd” Jordan is internationally acclaimed as one of the true master improvisers still performing today. The title of Jordan’s first recording—No Compromise!— accurately expresses his personal conviction about his music. He holds the title Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres awarded by the French Ministry of Culture, an Honorary Doctor of Music from Loyola University New Orleans, a degree in music from Southern University, and a master’s from Millikin University. Indie Jazz aptly describes him as a “genteel man.”

He founded the Improvisational Arts Ensemble with Alvin Fielder, Clyde Kerr Jr., and London Branch; Alvin Thomas later joined the group. His World Saxophone Quartet, organized in 1976, included Hamiet Bluiett, David Murray, Julius Hemphill, and Oliver Lake. Jordan regularly toured with Alvin Fielder, William Parker, and Joel Futterman. Over his career, he has also performed with a wide array of celebrated artists, including Cannonball Adderley, Fred Anderson, Ornette Coleman, Stevie Wonder, and Aretha Franklin, to name just a few.

His teaching career began in 1955 at Bethune High School in Norco, LA, and continued at the William Houston School of Music in New Orleans. From 1972 to 2006, Jordan taught at Southern University New Orleans as head of the Jazz Studies program. He is the founder of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp and Heritage School of Music. His former students include Branford Marsalis, Donald Harrison, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Jon Batiste, and Courtney Bryan, and many others. Four of his children—Kent, Stephanie, Rachel, and Marlon—are professional musicians.

Jordan’s many recognitions include a feature on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Offbeat’s inaugural award for Lifetime Achievement in Music Education, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Vision Festival, and a Jazz Hero award from the Jazz Journalists Association.

Portrait photo by Eric Waters.