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Creating a "Catalyst" with Marqueal Jordan

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“Be encouraged and take the leap. We fail when we don’t try at all.” – Marqueal Jordan 

In 2008, when Brian Culbertson was in his old hometown of Chicago for a high profile gig as an opening act at United Center, his drummer Chris Miskel not only introduced him to his friend Marqueal Jordan, he also invited the keyboardist to check out the popular saxophonist at a local club – one of hundreds of gigs he had done over the years. At the time, Culbertson was looking for a new sax player for his upcoming Bringing Back The Funk tour – and he was so blown away that he offered Jordan the gig on the spot. 

After establishing himself on the urban jazz scene over the past few years touring with Culbertson and many other top genre performers, Jordan is now emerging as an artist in his own right with perfectly titled, Catalyst, a powerful and eclectic collection that establishes Jordan’s exciting vision of the future of contemporary urban jazz.

Developed over the past few years during down time from his increasingly busy schedule, Catalyst — whose vibe Jordan describes as “Grover Washington, Jr. meets Maxwell” — features three tracks produced by Jordan himself, three by prominent R&B/urban jazz producer Chris “Big Dog” Davis (Maysa, Kim Waters, Najee), two by prominent Chicago DJ/producer/artist DJ I.N.C. and one by R&B singer Frank McComb. “When You Smile”, a track that showcases Jordan’s equally soulful vocals, features Culbertson on piano, and the keyboardist also is credited as one of the project’s recording engineers and associate producers. 

A well-established freelance performer for years in his adopted hometown of Chicago, Jordan had thought about doing a solo recording even before getting the gig with Culbertson – but it was always a matter of finding the right voice and opportunity. He credits fellow saxophonist Mike Phillips, who joined the band for one of Culbertson’s Christmas tours, for encouraging him to stop thinking about it and get started. Phillips had enjoyed success as a solo artist in addition to his work as a sideman and simply told Jordan, “You’re next.” Culbertson’s former guitarist, Gerey Johnson, also helped kick the process in gear. Jordan’s drummer, Khari Parker, got the ball rolling by suggesting that the saxophonist record his co-written song “Buttas”.

“I think when you’re a busy sideman, if you don’t make recording your solo album a priority, it won’t become one”, says Jordan. “Even though the pieces came together slowly and from a lot of different talented collaborators, I had an overall vision of what I wanted to do, and that was putting my best foot forward, sharing a lot of my musical history as a saxophonist and singer in the worlds of jazz and R&B. My goal was to bring all of that together to tell the story of who I am, and I am really excited by the results and appreciate all of the many musicians and people in my life who helped make it a reality.”

For more information visit his website at www.marquealjordan.com

For more information about the Idlewild Music Festival vist www.idlewildmusicfest.org

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