Esteban Jordan passed away last week from liver cancer. There was nobody like him. I first heard Steve Jordan on Horizontes on KUT back in the early 1980s. They played “El Kranke” – a long repetitious tune that likely had it’s own specific dance steps. It wasn’t like anything I’d heard so I started listening to more. I bought albums. Some stuff was a little out there, likely fueled by El Polvito. Here’s a nice NPR piece on Esteban, done about a year ago:
When we did the Harvest Moon & Tunes Festival in Fort Davis I wanted to get Esteban to come play, but he was not available. I don’t mean he was booked or otherwise engaged – I simply couldn’t find him. I called all over South Texas, to radio stations and his record label. I was told he probably wouldn’t be interested in coming out to West Texas. I was never able to actually talk to him or any representative to see if he would do it. That would’ve been cool. (We booked Santiago Jimenez, Jr. for the event that year. Don’t tell him he was our second choice…)
As you listen to John Burnett’s interview, and consider that my story above is probably more common than not, you realize that Esteban himself was probably his own greatest barrier to being a true big star, financially secure & internationally renown. He’d been ripped off & taken advantage of, sure, but it’s apparent the resulting distrust also kept hm from exploiting opportunities presented to him. Like giving millions of listeners “just a taste” of his new album.
Another one of the greats gone. Le vaya bien, Esteban.