I caught up to John Jordan between sets at Skippers Smoke House. He was cooling off back stage after the 1st set and relaxing just a bit before the 2nd set of the night. John plays a monstrous seven string bass that looks like half a tree. He is as much of the core Chris Duarte Group sound as Chris Duarte is himself.
Murf: How's it feel being back with the band after being on vacation?
John: It feels great, you know, it really does. It's really the most fun that we've had...that I've had in a long time. I think Chris is having fun too.
Murf: Was it a good way to recharge the batteries?
John: Yeah, I've been on the road since I was seventeen and I'm forty
four, almost forty five, and you know, it's just a long time on the road man, you know. My daughter was growing up and I wanted to spend some time with her before she was completely grown up...and at that time I just needed the rest.
Murf: Tell me about the Mystery....
John: Mysterious Quartet From Helsinki.... one of the things I did while I was off was I started a trio, kind of a hard acid jazz trio. And then when I rejoined the Chris Duarte Group I thought, well I'll just make this trio into a quartet, since Chris has the same schedule and I'd have Chris play guitar in it. I was kind of concerned, we were
going to do a show in Eureka Springs, and my trio was going to open for us, and it wound up being the quartet opening for the Chris Duarte Group. It sounds confusing, so we just made this record real fast, I mean from composition, to production, to CD's coming out was less than a month. A real rapid-fire thing and I just did a limited run of the record. And I called it the Mysterious Quartet From Helsinki cause I just wanted to get something out there, a one-time shot, never to be repeated. So I kinda made up this name and this bizarre legend about the whole thing......just kind of a fun thing you know.
Murf: You guys have been working on some new material I guess? I know
the first CD was kind of Texas Blues and the second one was more experimental and the last one was more rock and roll. Can you give us a hint of where the next one will be going?
John: We're kinda hoping to go for that kind of live spirit, kinda the
live spirit that permeated the first record. Just the way it was recorded and the way it felt playing it was...was about like a gig almost. I think people really liked the spirit of that record a whole lot. And the music, the music is still coming out and it looks like we
are going to be doing it, probably in March. We're still writing songs for it right now. One of the candidates, you heard in the first set is a song called "Floating Bridge", it's kind of a Jimmy-ish sounding ballad sort of thing.
Murf: A little bit like Hendrix's Angel?
John: Kinda like Angel, yeah...but that's actually a Bill Carter tune, he wrote some things for Stevie, he gave us that song. And Chris has got kind of another sort of another ballad. I would say that it's generally closer to Texas Sugar, its kind of what we're thinking. But you know that's ten years ago now (Texas Sugar/Strat Magic...ed) or getting close to it, you know. So it's kind of raw spirit plus ten years of experience on the road. I think it will be a real interesting record. I just have a feeling it will be a real exceptional record.
Murf: It doesn't seem like I've been coming to see you guys for ten
John: That's right, It's been ten years man.....a long time.
Murf: I've seen a lot of drummers, you guys are like Spinal Tap when it
comes to drummers!
John: (laughing) Yeah, Ed's (Miles - Drums) our thirteenth drummer,
there's several others who did one or two gigs, but Ed's our thirteenth guy who's done the gig.
Murf: Is that a bad number?
John: No, it's a really good number, I'm having more fun with Ed..... I
mean really having fun playing with Ed than anybody. I like the way he feels things and I like the way he puts things and he listens real well. It's just been a gas; I really like playing with him.
Murf: It sounds really good out front and I'm glad to see you back on
John: It feels really good, you know, I just needed to pull some loose
bits together, sew body parts back on and stuff.
Murf: Still working on your own record company?
John: Absolutely, yeah, it was just for that one record as the Mysterious Quartet From Helsinki. Now I'm just calling it the John Jordan Quartet or whatever and some of the music I'm writing is for nine musicians, one of whom will definitely be Chris. I'm writing all kinds of stuff.
Murf: Glad to see you guys finally made it back to Florida. It's been
two years; actually I think it's been longer for you.
John: Yeah, longer for me. They came down right after the third record
came out, with Bernard Allison.
Murf: That was two years ago.
John: They haven't been here since then?
Murf: No, that was two years ago in November.
John: Well it's nice to be back, there's some good crowds.
Murf: Do you ever, when you guys go off on tangents like the John Coltrane stuff or you guys start going off on the outside, do you ever worry about the kind of audience reaction your going to get? Do you ever get kind of an ugly audience?
John: No....and I think if it was kind of an ugly audience, we would play more of that stuff. We're not going to go out there an antagonize anybody but we really believe in what we do. And we're not afraid of pissing people off ....I think people get off on the energy and emotion and I think that comes through. No matter what you're playing, if your committed and people pick up on it....we played Coltrane for a heavy
metal audience last night and they got it. They understood. You know your just leaning into this stuff.
Murf: I always wondered cause I don't think I've ever seen two shows
John: It's important to reach your audience on some level, but it's also important to challenge your audience, you know, cause you want it to be a growing situation....for you and for the audience. And if you just come out and just do what they think they want to hear, then nobodies growing in the situation. You know, so you find a balance, you don't want to just totally alienate them, or only play experimental stuff that freaks them out. We're always going to play 'My Way Down'. You want to challenge them and you want to make them come to you a little bit. Cause then everyone feels like they've participated in something. That's what I think, but what do I know, spoken by a bass player.
Murf: Well, I was wondering cause I've been to shows where it's been
very jazzy all night long and then the next night it's heavy rock and blues all night long.
John: The essence of American music and really that's what I think we
play. By that I mean....the America's. I've also said that American music is really playing what you feel. I mean, that's what jazz is about, that's what blues is about, that's what rock is about....all of those are just totally emotional music. You know sometimes Chris is just
feeling like just doing the show and rocking out and sometimes he's just feeling really experimental, and he follows that you know. And he can't help but follow that...it's not like he has a choice. He doesn't have a choice! He's so into the muse....and the muse is so into him ...that he's just.....he's just following his emotions. And he's a really....really emotional player. People see that and they feel that...and for some people it's too much. Some people feel too much and it hurts them. They have too much pent up inside them and I've seen them and it's unsettling almost.
Murf: You've definitely been all over the place tonight, Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Blues, Rock. I'll let you go now, so you can get ready for the next set, thanks for the comments.
John: It's been a pleasure.
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