Here is the last of three performances by the late Clifford Jordan, recorded during a live broadcast from WBAI as the sun rose over New York City. The tune originally appeared on Jordan's Atlantic album, "These are My Roots," a tribute to Leadbelly, which was released that same month. He subsequently recorded it for the Steeplechase label.
Clifford was also one of the many musicians who took command of a two-hour Saturday afternoon time slot that had a long line of guest hosts from the jazz scene. They could spend the two hours as they wished. Some came alone, with a pile of albums, others brought friends along—Eddie Condon dragged George Wettling in for an absorbing dialogue and some good music, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis shared the time, talking—among other subjects—about the big band they had just started, then there were afternoons with John Coltrane, Toshiko (then) Mariano, Zoot Sims, Blue Mitchell, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and many others. Most of them played records or tapes, interspersed with reminiscences and opinions, but Bill Dixon spent the entire two hours ranting against WBAI, which he said had a policy of not playing "avant garde" jazz. He was very wrong and he wasted two hours of air time that he could have spent playing the most avant garde sounds ever heard. Oh, well.
I think we represented jazz better than any other New York station at the time, and when it came to helping us out, the jazz community was overwhelmingly responsive. Take, for instance, the night of December 27, 1965, when an amazing number of jazz performers showed up to play for us at the Village Gate. The crowd was so big that Art D'Lugoff had to open another room, the Top of the Gate, and each of these great musicians appeared in both places! Monk's manager, Jules Colomby, helped get it all together. Monk came early and fell asleep in the kitchen—it was a somewhat hectic but memorable night. They don't do that for WBAI anymore, and the station has only its management to blame for that. The spirit is gone, as is the energy that once was generated by enthusiasm and noble purpose.
Don't get me started on that! Click here and hear the Clifford Jordan Quintet do its thing for WBAI.