<transcy>Clifford Jordan - These Are My Roots,  Clifford Jordan Plays Lead Belly</transcy>
<transcy>Clifford Jordan - These Are My Roots,  Clifford Jordan Plays Lead Belly</transcy>
<transcy>Clifford Jordan - These Are My Roots,  Clifford Jordan Plays Lead Belly</transcy>
<transcy>Clifford Jordan - These Are My Roots,  Clifford Jordan Plays Lead Belly</transcy>
<transcy>Clifford Jordan - These Are My Roots,  Clifford Jordan Plays Lead Belly</transcy>
<transcy>Clifford Jordan - These Are My Roots,  Clifford Jordan Plays Lead Belly</transcy>

Clifford Jordan - These Are My Roots,  Clifford Jordan Plays Lead Belly

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Clifford Jordan (saxophone, tenor) [click here to see more vinyl featuring Clifford Jordan]

Roy Burrowes (trumpet)

Julian Priester (trombone)

Chuck Wayne (banjo)

Cedar Walton (piano)

Richard Davis (bass, acoustic)

Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums) [click here to see more vinyl featuring Albert Tootie Heath]

Sandra Douglas (vocals)

Written by Huddie Ledbetter (A1, A2, A3, A4, B1, B2, B3, B4, B5), Alan Lomax (A1, A2, B2, B5), John A. Lomax (A1, B1), Clifford Jordan (A5)

1 LP, standard sleeve

Limited edition

Original analog Master tape : YES

Heavy Press : 180g

Record color : black

Speed : 33 RPM

Size : 12'’



Record Press : Unspecified

Label : Pure Pleasure Records

Original Label : Atlantic

Recording : February 1 & 17, 1965 in New York City

Producer : Donald Elfman

Originally released in 1965

Re-mastering by: Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London

Reissued in 2020

Tracks :

Side A :

  1. Dick's Holler
  2. Silver City Bound
  3. Take This Hammer
  4. Black Betty
  5. The Highest Mountain

Side B :

  1. Goodnight Irene
  2. De Gray Goose
  3. Black Girl
  4. Jolly O The Ransome
  5. Yellow Gal

Reviews :

« At first glance, this appears to be a very illogical album. Back in 1965, tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan recorded a tribute to the late folksinger Leadbelly. The date, originally cut for Atlantic and reissued by Koch in 1999, is actually more successful than one might expect. Jordan performs nine of Leadbelly's originals (including the hit "Goodnight Irene"), turning the music into jazz without lessening the impact of the melodies or their folk roots. Trumpeter Roy Burrowes, trombonist Julian Priester, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath are on most of the selections along with Jordan, while Chuck Wayne (on guitar and banjo) helps out on four tunes, and pianist Cedar Walton is on three. The fine young singer Sandra Douglass is excellent on "Take This Hammer" and "Black Girl." Overall, this project is an unexpected success -- one would not have thought that Clifford Jordan and Leadbelly had that much in common! » AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow

"These Are My Roots is noteworthy for many reasons. Clifford Jordan manages to reinvent blues essence with a highly creative jazzy approach" Robbie Gerson, Audiophile Audition Review May 2020

Clifford Jordan hailed from Chicago, hometown of hard-driving, so-called ‘tough tenorists’ like Gene Ammons and Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis. While Jordan shared their unnerving bravado, his tone is different, an alluring tone, simultaneously rough around the edges and ephemeral. A sought-after sideman, Jordan recorded with stalwarts as Lee Morgan and Max Roach in the late fifties and early sixties, as well as a series of high standard solo albums. Like age matures wine, Jordan’s style ripened in the early seventies, his lines becoming fluent like ripples of lake water. Jordan kept recording and performing steadily until his death in 1993.

Maybe this album, filled with interpretations of such classic tunes as Take This Hammer and Goodnight Irene, is not such a surprise act after all. The preceding year, Jordan had been part of Charles Mingus’ outfit (appearing on the hi-voltage live album Right Now: Live At The Jazz Workshop) Musical gobbler Mingus’ unfazed search for new vistas while retaining an all-embracing sense of the past’s relevance and blend of harmonic finesse with unbridled juke joint tumult surely rubbed off on Jordan.
Da Gray Goose is one of the cases in point. Tasteful harmony over the stop-time theme kicks it into action, strongly plucked bass and fiery drums inspire the soloists, creating an atmosphere of abandon. Lusty shout choruses stoke up the fire as the tune progresses. There are also some, yes, virtuoso banjo parts.

The gloomy folk blues music of Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbetter, whose life story reads like a combined effort of Shakespeare and James Baldwin, including oppression, hardship, addiction, treachery, murder and prison life, is excellently cast in a jazz frame. But not too jazzy, often the sound of Jordan’s top-notch group is as tough-as-nails as the sound of any one group that enlivened the back alley bars way back when. Jordan’s unpredictable phrasing overcomes the restrictions of the rigid folk blues form.

Craftily uncrafted, These Are My Roots is a spirited album of earnest, raw and ebullient swing.


AllMusic : 4 / 5

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