Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Counting down to..... The Jordan Years

As we hurtle headlong through December it’s not just the end of the year that approaches but the end of the Noughties. And so we will have to find something to call the new decade – the Onesies maybe, or maybe not.

So at this late stage of this decade’s proceedings will there be any more great music released? Oh yes!

Mark December 18th in your diaries because that’s when The Jordan Years release their debut single.

I know this because, amongst all the usual PR stuff (mostly genre irrelevant to Feel It) that drops in my inbox, a rather more personal message pinged in from Mike Andersen, owner of West Town Recording in Chicago and bass player with The Jordan Years.

I try and listen to most of the music I receive but if it doesn’t grab me in the first minute or so that’s it – it’s in the delete folder. The two tracks Mike sent me were never in any danger of that fate.
Pressing play on the mp3 files instantly transported me to my favourite after hours bar (you know - the perfect after hours bar which is part fact part imagination). I walked in through the tiny basement entrance and was immediately surrounded by this warm, friendly, soulful fug – the smoke, the chink of glasses, the chatter … the music!

Yes, it was an easy decision to feature The Jordan Years here.

I exchanged a couple of emails with Mike and having asked some, it has to be said, standard and off the wall (or was that inane?) questions I can now share the following with you concerning the band and the studio.

What? / Influences?

There is an eclectic contingent of jazz heads, hip hop kids, vinyl junkies, and classic rockers that frequented the infamous parties and late-night studio sessions held within the smoke filled, brick-walled confines of Chicago’s West Town Recording. The Jordan Years’ dusty, smoky, soulful grooves became the unofficial soundtrack. They are an ode to the golden age of Motown, the DIY ethic of the new music business, and the winning spirit held within their city’s heritage. Wes Restless – Vocals / Michael Cole – Keyboards / Roger Panella – Guitar / Joe Dorenbos – Drums / Mike Andersen – Bass

The name?

The Jordan Years came about as a recurring memory of the best party I had ever been to. . . The night was Sunday June 14, 1998. The Chicago Bulls had just beat the Utah Jazz for their 3rd championship in a row, I was 20 something and decided to walk a few blocks from my apartment at the time and see what was happening. As I approached Wicker Parks "6 corners" I notice that there were at least 10,000 people partying in the streets, women were hanging out of apartment windows above the crowd mistaking the madness for Mardi Gras and vying for beads that did not exist, creating uproars of excitement below.
I ran into some friends of mine and we ducked inside of the Double Door for the Sunday residency of Acid Jazzers Liquid Soul, once inside the party never stopped, I don't recall the club even closing that night cause that was the mood, either we party all night in a club or we hit the streets and start shit on fire. It really was an experience. . . So, I ended up hiring Liquid Souls horn section for The Jordan Years record and the rest is history I guess. . .

Soul food - all those late night sessions, you have to eat?

WTR FOOD: Two places are consistently called while we are recording, Phillys Best and Sultans Market as well as numerous pizza places and of course Food Smart for all of our frozen food needs and of course beer, wine and cigarettes.

Do they recline? Sofa, so good?

CHAIRS: One of them recline[s] but the other does not unfortunately. . . No matching couch either sad to say. I did grab those out of a club in 1999/2000 or so called Liquid Kitty. The clubs lease ran up and they were forced to move, I was living across the street at the time so on moving day my roommates and I ran in and acted as furniture movers and just brought them up to our place, somehow I have held on to them all of these years. . .

Thanks for sharing all this Mike. And the fact you have visited my home town not too many years ago – but that’s another story.

I’ll let you (readers/listeners) form your own opinion but a reaction when I heard these tracks was to think of Jamie Callum. Jamie had until recently been bowling along Jazz Boulevard, albeit only a block or two away from Soul Street. Then it seems he reached an intersection and hung a right into Pop Place. Never mind, Pop Place is a dead end of sorts, a square. If he goes all the way round he can head back in the other direction – down Soul Street. Cruising past West Town Recording (or calling in, even – there’s a thought) eventually he will end up sounding a lot like The Jordan Years.

The Jordan Years’ debut record has arrived! “See the Light / Warm Me Up,” featuring Wes Restless, is available exclusively at Check out the website to get your copy, or come out to the official record release party: WINTER SOULSTICE at Darkroom (Chicago, IL) December 18, 2009. Also performing Emilie Jaeger Sound, East of Edens Soul Express, and DJ LA*Jesus.
The record was conceived and captured at Chicago’s soul emporium West Town Recording during the Summer of 2009. Engineered by Mike Andersen, Mixed by Michael “Harp Da Knobs” Casey, and sizzled by the sweet horns of Grammy nominated Johnny Showtime on Trombone (Liquid Soul, Soulio), Mike Cichowicz on trumpet (Tower of Power, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker) and Nic Meyer (Tributosaurus, Larry King Orchestra).

We’ll have to wait and see, but we may just look back at this Winter Soulstice and say – yes – that’s when the new decade got a name: The Jordan Years!

The Jordan Years – See The Light (mp3) 2009

The Jordan Years – Warm Me Up (mp3) 2009


John Andy said...

Milkboy is great, and the trumpet player in my band books shows there, and runs sound. I have played there myself, and also at the world cafe live downstairs. Both are great venues, but Milkboy has a killer Jazz Open Mic. Great local talent, and a great guy running the show.

Building Your Song Catalog

Baby Grandpa said...

Well, Darcy, I also featured The Jordan Years on my blog after I had a short phone chat with Mike Andersen.

The whole thing eventually lead me to their webpage and then to your blog!

I just added your blog to my blogroll, so if you're interested then please add mine to yours :-)

Love the stuff you offer,