The Souris-Jordan Jazz Orchestra is an avant-garde jazz quartet based in Denton, TX. The group consists of Addison Jordan on tenor saxophone, Alex Souris on drums, Mike Luzecky on bass, and Jeremy Sinclair on trumpet. The quartet aims to continue the work of challenging modern music conventions. They do this and they do it well. Their unique, complex sound teaches listeners to be better listeners. Check out their 1155 Live set and our short interview with them below.
How did the Souris/Jordan Jazz Orchestra begin?
Souris: Typically, music students do a senior recital and that’s it, but I wanted to do a little something extra. If you’re not a senior, then you have to get approved to do that by your lesson teacher. My lesson teacher at the time was Ed Soph who is the best, best teacher I’ve ever had. I had to record some of the stuff that we wanted to do and send it to Ed. The idea was to go for a chordless quartet kind of sound. Me and Addison got together and recorded some Ornette stuff, some Miles stuff.
Jordan: Just some stuff we’re influenced by, thinking of that vibe that we wanted.
Souris: Ed told me that it sounded like crap. He said that it sounded like we didn’t have any idea what we really wanted to sound like.
Jordan: It was kind of true though.
Souris: Long story short, he was like y’all can’t do this, you don’t sound good. So I didn’t get a chance to re-record and make that happen at UNT, but I still wanted to pursue the idea. We started playing a bunch of sessions with Mike who plays bass.
Jordan: One of my good friends from Dallas, Jeremy Sinclair, who I’ve known through just playing around, I called him to play in the band. Then we got a gig and we thought it was pretty cool. We really liked the music that we wrote and that’s kind of how it started.
You spoke about the chordless quartet kind of sound. What does that mean?
Jordan: Normally, when you have a quartet there is a chordal instrument that plays, like a piano or guitar, something of that nature. But after checking out and listening to some stuff, we didn’t feel like there needed to be that harmonic piece there.
Souris: It creates a different atmosphere. There is a lot of space left open that would normally be someone compensating with chords.
What are some of the group’s inspirations?
Souris: A lot of it comes from the artists that we listen to playing chordless. Ornette Coleman had the iconic quartet with Blackwell and Don Cherry and Charlie Hayden. That was a really avant-garde sound at that time that we both still love.
Jordan: That group, that sound definitely influences how we think.
Souris: We wanted to carry that tradition forward and create something in that vein.
What is the goal of the music?
Jordan: One hope is to play music that I enjoy. I enjoy all the music that we play in our group. We mainly play our original music. Yeah, so that’s one goal. Then, of course, we try to play interesting music that the listeners can enjoy and see our artistic creativity.
Souris: This is an outlet to explore things that we don’t necessarily get to do in school and play with people that aren’t in school with us. That’s a big part of it. It’s really fulfilling to have a situation that you have complete control over. We can entirely decide what we want to do.
What is Denton Moms Against Creative Music?
Souris: Garrett Wingfield is this tenor player who also plays baritone, alto, clarinet. He used to go to UNT and he left the jazz program to go to LA. When he was here, he was leading a lot of really avant-garde projects that were kind of pushing the boundaries that nobody else, in school at the time, was doing. Garrett and the people he was playing with had some kind of running joke called the Denton Moms Against Free Jazz, then it became the Denton Moms Against Creative Music.
Jordan: It’s a play on Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Souris: Obviously, we are not in support of drunk driving, but there are all these really weird petty groups against dirty dancing and unholy music and stuff like that. A lot of them have a weird religious aspect that is kind of warped and focused more on censorship than anything else. It’s not really about getting together and expressing faith, so much as it is about like stopping vagrants in the neighborhood. We thought as vagrants ourselves, it would be really nice to have somebody in our corner. I started making a bunch of promotional posters last year for something we or our friends were doing. Then I started inserting “this is presented by Denton Moms Against Creative Music”. Honestly, the realest answer is that it’s a branding thing.
Jordan: It’s sort of a collective. Our friend group, we all have creative music and we think its a funny, cool way for people to know about us.
Souris: It’s like a really positive dog whistle for creative avant-garde music. Whenever my roommate Pete is playing somewhere, we include that. My other roommate, Ethan, when he’s playing we include it. The idea is to create this awareness of this goofy joke is attached to serious, thoughtful music that isn’t always pressed. The official answer is the Denton Moms Against Creative Music is a organization of local moms in Denton that research and inspect and investigate and vet artistic music projects in the area to ensure that they can present an artistic performance that is safe and comforting and doesn’t challenge the listeners in any way or introduce anyone to any dangerous new ideas. That’s our mission statement.