- Cool (Definition of)
- 1.) Steve Jordan
- Source: Drummers, everywhere
Once again, I was a latecomer to the Steve Jordan party. In all honesty, I’d pretty much skipped over him until a friend lent me ‘The Groove is Here’ DVD sometime back in 2004. Not only can Jordan play the drums like the coolest man on the planet, but he can also play the Bass guitar and occupy the producer’s chair. He also writes songs. Do I need to go on?
Back in the early 1990’s it was a different story as I remained clueless about his understated abilities and presence on so many recordings. For one, I used to play in a bread & butter covers band who played The Pretenders song, ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’ as a regular crowd pleaser, completely unaware that it was Steve Jordan providing me with the groove to slaughter. And slaughter I did. Did anyone know that it’s disgracefully possible to throw double-Bass licks into that song? Moving on swiftly…
You either ‘get’ Steve Jordan as a drummer, or you don’t. Those who don’t see the genius will probably have other fish to fry in the pursuit of more technique biased playing. For me, the saying “better late than never” comes to mind when reflecting on my prolonged time in denial. Jordan’s list of credits should have been enough to turn my head earlier, but sometimes you just don’t see the light. Dave Hassell used to mention his name during lessons, but I just wasn’t ready. Thankfully, clarity finally won the day and my view of the role of the drummer as a musician has been greatly enhanced by my appreciation of this Master.
Fortunately, I was lucky enough to see Jordan play a low key gig with John Mayer during 2010 (for which I wrote a review) and although finding Mayer’s solo material a little on the lacklustre side, it was evident why he repeatedly hires Jordan as executive producer and MD. Though millions of Mayer fans would likely disagree with me, I believe his strongest work has been within the JMT format where the explosive mix of Mayer, Jordan and Pino Palladino hit a level seemingly unattainable on solo recordings. To my thinking, a great drummer does not make up for patchy music or an unexciting gig, but it was indeed a privilege to see Jordan nail his job in a small venue. Criticism aside, I’m not writing off Mayer’s ability to collaborate with Jordan again to produce something as equally exciting as the Trio; after all, song writing is a mysterious gift that does not bear fruit to order. If you have yet to discover Steve Jordan, no problem; the personal transition from drummer’s drummer to musician’s drummer is an evolutionary process that will ultimately, reveal the genius behind the simplicity.