Waddles Celebrates Louis Jordan

Pianist Alvin Waddles presented his new show celebrating Louis Jordan at Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor on March 7. Earlier Waddles created a show celebrating another larger than life figure in jazz: Fats Waller. Now jazz and blues fans know Jordan was one of the pioneers of Jump Blues/R&B in the 1940s with his raunchy alto sax, boogie rhythms and vocal artistry.

Waddles assembled a nice quartet for the occasion with the dynamic rhythm duo of Marion Hayden on bass and Djallo Djakate on drums, and added his youngest son Dominic (right) on alto sax.

Waddles is a charismatic performer with a great voice and solid piano skills. These were evident on the classic “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” taken at a very slow and challenging tempo. Waddles was at his crooning best on this one and his piano solo showcased his chording skills. Marion Hayden contributed with a thoughtful bass solo. Waddles captured Jordan’s sense of humor nicely on “Keep A Knockin’,” “How About That,” “Chicken Ain’t Nothin But a Bird” and “Deacon Jones.” Some of his blues sides were also heard, like “How Blue Can You Get” and “Outskirts of Town,” the latter with a nice alto solo by Dominic Waddles.

Jordan had many hits in his career mostly with his Tympany Five band. “Caldonia” (1945) was one of the biggest, and Waddles made it the closer on this really upbeat evening. The Concert House was indeed rocking.