Thursday, 26 August 2010 04:06

Music historian and former newspaper publisher Frank Chavez from Wichita Falls, Texas remembered Esteban Jordan as a unique artist whose influence crossed into many spheres.

But before we read Mr. Chavez's recollection, here is our take on Jordan's legacy:

"Conjunto pioneer and accordion master Esteban ‘Steve’ Jordan was a Grammy nominee and 1982 Tejano Conjunto Hall of Famer. He earned a reputation as a passionate musician, an accordion virtuoso who flew beyond

 conjunto’s folksy roots. His speed and intensity, and especially

 his enthusiasm and willingness to seamlessly incorporate rock, blues, and jazz into such hits as “My Toot Toot,” and ‘Turn Me Loose,’ made him one of conjunto’s invaluable world ambassadors. For his technical brilliance, creative daring and influential style, Jordan will always stand as one of conjunto’s towering influences.”

Mr. Chavez: Esteban 'Steve' Jordan was an incredible musician and performer.

He was one of Tejano music's greatest accordion players. He was a wildman on the squeeze box, and a pleasure to hear and see perform live. 

Many look down on the accordion as a folksy instrument, but

in Jordan's hands it was pure magic.

He was the "Jimmy Hendrix of the Accordion."  Born into extreme poverty in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, into a family of 15 siblings, Steve used music as an escape from hunger, boredom and the effects of poverty.  He was born into a family of impoverished migrant farm workers, and to make things worse, he was born sickly and blind in one eye. 

All of his life he wore a patch over one blind eye and the nickname "El parche" (The Patch). 

All the Tejano artists recognized his genius, including Little Joe, with whom he performed and recorded.  Jordan played it all: rancheras, polkas, corridos, boleros, jazz, cumbias, rock.

He was sheer energy and everything he performed was jazzed up transforming the sound into something totally unheard of before.  He was also a composer, and many of his songs (especially his corridos) were popular on both sides of the border. 

He recorded for several labels including Hacienda Records out of Corpus Christi.  It is indeed a sad moment musically for Tejano music and accordion music in general.  He went experimentally one step beyond what Paulino Bernal had pioneered in the 50s and 60s on the lowly accordion.

And courtesy of Conjunto Is Life, a photo essay below, including some shots of Steve Jordan.

Find more photos like this on Conjunto is Life