Gifted vocalist Stephanie Jordan, daughter of legendary saxophonist Edward “Kidd” Jordan, and sibling to three musicians, comes from a renowned close Crescent City musical family. She says the question every day to her family, “Have you talked to mama today, talked to daddy today? What’d y’all eat?”
How much do you treasure being from the birthplace of jazz?
I can’t imagine myself being born anywhere else in the entire world except New Orleans. First of all, it nurtures the family life. There’s the food, the architecture, the music. Music in New Orleans is broader than what people think. I grew up listening to classical music, traditional jazz music, serious R&B music, big band, straight-ahead jazz, avant-garde jazz. This was all live music. Music is so important to the New Orleans culture.
There are a wealth of musical families in NOLA.
Yes, musical families like the Marsalises, the Batistes, the Nevilles. My own uncle was (avant-garde jazz clarinetist) Alvin Batiste. I remember the first time I heard local legend Germaine Bazzle sing. It was in the park with Ellis Marsalis. The life we had growing up in this city was always surrounded by a pulse, the music of the city, the sound of a band coming up the street during a Mardi Gras parade and seeing those cymbals up in the air.
If you could go back in time and sing onstage in another era, when would that be?
I would love to be a singer in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s after the civil rights bill, the voting rights bill was passed. There was great R&B music, great jazz music. As a jazz vocalist, I actually saw Lena Horne live when she did her own one-woman show in 1982-83. Nancy Wilson could do traditional straight-ahead stuff, then she could do all her pop-influenced music.
You’ve performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. What’s one word that exemplifies the way you feel when you’re performing?
Love. It’s all love – love for music, the musicians you’ve bonded with for that performance, love for the people who took the time to show up and hear me sing. It’s love for life, God and the gift He’s given me, love for an experience that once it’s over, it’s like, “Wow.” You feel the afterglow.
Do you like to dance?
I love to dance! I studied dance and have a minor degree in dance education. I’ve studied classical ballet, modern dance and African dance most of life. If you really want to see me get up and dance, give me something from Parliament-Funkadelic.