Clifford Jordan: Inward Fire (1977) Muse

Selection: Inward Fire (Jordan)

.  .  .


A1. Inward Fire – 6:40
A2. Abracadabra – 6:41
A3. The Look (Reece) – 8:12
B1. Toy – 6:08
B2. Buddy Bolden’s Call – 7:00
B3. Eat at Joe’s (Reece) – 9:25

All songs Clifford Jordan except Dizzy Reece A3, B3.


Clifford Jordan, tenor saxophone, flute; Dizzy Reece, trumpet; Howard Johnson, tuba; Pat Patrick, tenor (baritone?) saxophone, flute; Muhal Richard Abrams, piano; Jimmy Ponder, guitar; Richard Davis, bass; Louis Hayes, Grover Everett, drums; Azzedine Weston, congas; Donna Jewel Jordan (daughter of Clifford Jordan, – A2), Joe Lee Wilson (B2) vocals;  Franklin Fuentes and Charles Thomas, Producers; recorded April 5, 1977 at CI Recording Studio, 57th Street, NYC, (Elvin  Campbell and Chuck Irwin) 

Wonderful line up a decade into the jazz wilderness years: Dizzy Reece, Richard Davis, Louis Hayes. Pat Patrick, on leave from Sun Ra, April 5, 1977.credited on tenor sax, despite Jordan being on tenor sax, and Patrick being a renowned baritone sax player.


After a rather odd opening statement, the title composition gathers pace and rattles along. Jordan is on fire straight out of the gate, fingers flying over the keys full tilt, takes no prisoners, I have rarely heard him so animated and driven, Parker would have raised an eyebrow. Have an extinguisher and fire bucket on hand, especially as Dizzy Reece is smokin’ too.

The scope is ambitious – Jordan recruited additional voices to the ensemble, tuba and baritone and for two tracks, vocals (one including his daughter). It is a large group, the arrangement is a little congested when it opens up,  and the engineering could have made better use of the soundstage, but I guess the budget at Muse didn’t run to Van Gelder Studio anymore, and times were lean for jazz. 

It still sounds great given the late year 1977, and all acoustic, apart from Ponder’s guitar. Behind the somewhat obvious cover art lurks something of a beast of an album, worth seeking out.

Twenty years on from his Blue Note debut, Jordan found a creative refuge in the Muse label, who gave him a string of fine albums in the wake of his Strata East encounters.  Expatriated briefly to Yrup, Jordan moved on from Muse to European jazz labels including Enja, Steeplechase, Beehive, Timeless and Soul Note, all showcasing that immediately recognizable melodic vibrato tenor voice, and mostly being producers of high-quality vinyl compared with the rest of the industry at the time.

After a decade of pond-hopping lifestyle, Jordan finally departed in 1993, at home in Chicago, aged 61. He left in his wake approaching forty titles as leader, and countless other appearances, where he added adding sympathetic colour and tone to the performance of others.

Vinyl: Muse 5128

Pressed by PRC Recording Company, a vinyl plating, pressing and label printing plant, 1600 Rich Road, Richmond, Indiana (operational 1972-90).

Art Director, my office, now. The “sheet-music-on-fire” cover on Inward Fire, who thought that was a good idea? No, don’t start looking around, it’s what I pay you for, directing Art. Are you aware the studio burned down shortly after the cover shoot?

A coincidence.

Just a minute, do I smell smoke?

I expect it’s my after-shave, sir. It’s new, from Paris, France,  “Notre Dame En Feu”  –  “Notes of incense and wood-smoke, a whiff of kerosene”. (Opens cigarette pack)  Have you got a light? I seem to have left my matches somewhere.

Collector’s Corner: LJC reviews Clifford Jordan: All great stuff.

Somewhere are many others on the shelf not yet escalated to review. What I have is here: 

Blowing In From Chicago (Blue Note re)

Glass Bead Games (Strata East)

Night of the Mark VII (Muse)

Two Tenor Winner (Criss Cross Jazz)

The Adventurer (Muse)

Hello Hank Jones (East Wind Direct Disk)

Kleinschuster ORF Recordings (Wallen Bink)


On The Horizon… Finally, Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series – 2023 Release Schedule:

January 6, 2023

  • ScoLoHoFo (Scofield-Lovano-Holland-Foster) – Oh! (Blue Note, 2002)

February 3, 2023

March 3, 2023

April 7, 2023

  • Chet Baker – Chet Baker Sings and Plays (Pacific Jazz, 1955)
  • Stanley Turrentine – Mr. Natural (Blue Note, 1964)

May 5, 2023

  • Gil Evans Orchestra – Great Jazz Standards (Pacific Jazz, 1959)
  • Freddie Hubbard – Blue Spirits (Blue Note, 1965)

June 2, 2023

  • Donald Byrd – Slow Drag (Blue Note, 1967)
  • McCoy Tyner – Time For Tyner (Blue Note, 1968)

July 7, 2023

  • Sonny Clark Trio – Sonny Clark Trio (Blue Note, 1957)
  • Hank Mobley – A Caddy For Daddy (Blue Note, 1965)

August 4, 2023

  • Lee Morgan – Infinity (Blue Note, 1965)
  • Duke Pearson – The Right Touch (Blue Note, 1967)

September 1, 2023

  • Big John Patton – Let ‘Em Roll (Blue Note, 1965)
  • Wayne Shorter – Schizophrenia (Blue Note, 1967)

October 6, 2023

  • Herbie Nichols Trio – Herbie Nichols Trio (Blue Note, 1955-56)
  • Jackie McLean – Demon’s Dance (Blue Note, 1967)

November 3, 2023

  • Kenny Burrell – K.B. Blues (Blue Note, 1957)
  • Jack Wilson – Easterly Winds (Blue Note, 1967)

December 1, 2023

  • Grant Green – I Want To Hold Your Hand (Blue Note, 1965)
  • McCoy Tyner – Extensions (Blue Note, 1970)

My thanks to Carlos, manning the Crow’s Nest, scanning the horizon. What’s exciting for you in this schedule? Any title in particular? What would you most like to see in future Tone Poets? Remember TP try not to clash with MMJ titles: Ron and Joe gotta eat, they are spoiling us as it is. What’s on your Blue Note TP wish-list? 

Here rival jazz blogger WhatCanBrown (who thought of that name? Show them the door!) gives an excellent more in depth review of the forthcoming TP schedule titles, good man.


9 thoughts on “Clifford Jordan: Inward Fire (1977) Muse

  1. Glad to see Jack Wilson get some attention. I like Easterly Winds but would really like to see Something Personal get an update.


  2. Friend Andrew, thank you for your words of appreciation.
    What happens with Tone Poet reissues is a bit strange to me. There is never a lack of a Stanley Turrentine record, for example, nor a Donald Byrd one. They’re both great musicians, but I think there’s a ton of material in the Blue Note vaults just waiting to be given a try. In the same way, in this new collection for 2023 I consider two McCoy Tyner albums in the same year, excessive as is the case with Donald Byrd. I consider that in the 2023 collection there are authentic gems but there are also several perfectly dispensable titles. In the same way, I observe that in the Classic Vinyl series the titles that were reissued a long time ago in Music Matters are being reissued, (which is appreciated for those of us who do not get many titles), effectively respecting the titles so as not to be reissued as Tone poet. (not always: the example is Blue Train). Finally, my perception is that something strange happens with the selection of titles in Tone Poet, I suppose that it is the policy that Universal follows and that their reasons may have. Anyway, reissues of the Classic Vinyl Series and Tone Poet are always welcome and I consider myself a strong advocate and collector of both.


    • That first Donald Byrd release is a carryover from 2022 — it was originally supposed to be out in December. Agree, though, that it would be nice to see a little more variety in terms of artists (I’d love Tone Poets of Freddie Roach’s Brown Sugar or Clifford Jordan’s debut album) and maybe a bit more attention given to some of the vault finds that to date have only been released on CD, in Japan, or as part of the ‘70s Classics series.


      • I was both surprised and pleased to see this mention of Freddie Roach’s BROWN SUGAR, an album that I suspect is not on too many folk’s radar. I have a Liberty 1967 repress of this 1964 album (East Coast, Van Gelder imprint, no ear) and it has a very fine sound indeed. The album has a beautiful Reid Miles’ cover featuring a photo by Ronnie Brathwaite. It originally caught my eye in the store because the model in the picture was a dead ringer for one of my coworkers in the lab at the time, and I purchased it even though I was not a fan of the Hammond organ sound. But as the LJC has noted elsewhere, Roach offered rather more subtlety than most jazz organists – and the addition of Joe Henderson on tenor made for a fine outing – a rather enjoyable and interesting program of tunes. For me, “The Midnight Sun Will Never Set” was a standout track, a lovely interpretation of a very pretty Quincy Jones tune.

        Looking more closely now at the liner notes I see that the model was one Clara Lewis Buggs, who was employed by the somewhat unfortunately named Grandassa Models – thus, the title track’s name later echoed in Jagger’s tasteless tune.

        Commenting more broadly, I am surprised at the recent attention and emphasis given to the reissues of jazz albums on labels such as Tone Poet, Music Matters et al rather than to the original releases. I have no desire to contribute to the support of “Ron and Joe” – I’d guess that with the prices they charge for their albums they are able to dine in ample splendor. I only hope that the artists, or more likely their descendants, are also profiting from these reissues.

        An awesome live version (from Montreux) of Jordan’s “Inward Fire” is also available on TCB records (and on YouTube).

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have a great appreciation for Freddie Roach, as well as the Hammond organ in general, and Brown Sugar is actually the only of his Blue Note albums I don’t own. Having Joe Henderson in the lineup certainly doesn’t hurt.

          As far as the current spate of Blue Note reissues goes, I can only speak for myself, but at $30-something dollars per Tone Poet here in the U.S., it’s a significant savings compared to the cost of originals and often, earlier reissues. I could get a VG / VG copy of Brown Sugar off Discogs right now – “Clean VG with surface wear/scuffs, nothing deep Side 1 plays closer to VG+ Side 2 plays weak VG with a lot of surface noise on the first and third track which are very quiet/soft,” the seller says, but it’s $40 + shipping and depending on how it actually sounded, I’d likely remain on the lookout for an upgrade until I found a suitable copy. That said, were I to find a solid copy of Brown Sugar at a reasonable price, it’s unlikely I would buy a Tone Poet reissue. On the other hand, I do have an original of Lee Morgan’s Infinity from 1981, and I can’t imagine the upcoming Tone Poet won’t be a massive improvement in sound quality and presentation.

          And for what it’s worth (maybe nothing), the Tone Poet albums, along with the Blue Note Classic Vinyl series, are actually official reissues by Blue Note (and the Music Matters albums before them were all officially licensed from Blue Note / Universal). I would assume the artists or the artists’ estates do receive royalties, but unfortunately, I don’t know for sure. Perhaps Joe Harley could speak more directly to that point.



          Sadly for me, CD only, but a fascinating set of sessions. Extraordinary huge catalogue of Swiss Radio jazz recordings from Peter Schmidlin, almost all only on CD. I suspect that giant Swiss Radio archive has been digitised, like the French INA archive. Digitising was seen by archivists as the space-saving way of the future.

          I have some TCB vinyl editions, though I was never very impressed with sound quality. Such is the reissue business, usually digital middleware.


  3. On Clifford Jordan: the CrissCross is really cool; set me on the track for Junior Cook (now: repress Roy Brooks’ ‘Beat’ on Workshop/ Motown). And of course Cliff & Cedar Walton Trio – A night at Boomers vol 1/2 (Muse). CrissCross and Muse were indeed on a budget. Strata East ‘In the World’ definitely wasn’t..


  4. I occasionally comment as “London, Ontario Jazz Collector” (hope that’s not offensive to you). When I tried to post a comment to this article, it kept asking me to “log in” to Word Press…?

    Anyway, here is my intended comment:

    My TP wish list (short)

    anything by Ike Quebec Dexter Gordon – Gettin’ Around Blue Mitchell – The Thing to Do

    Even better would be to have these appear in the Kevin Gray mastered Audiophile Series, which are of similar (identical?) quality and don’t take up quite so much shelf space.


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