Steve Jordan’s Sons Carry the Torch Forward
Steve Jordan’s music lives on.
It’s been one and a half years since el sabio del acordeon passed on and while there are countless recordings available for years to come, his youngest sons, Esteban III and Ricardo Jordan, have taken their father’s legacy one step further by continuing to perform his music through live music performances.
“We’re carrying the torch forward,” Steve III, as he prefers to be called, and Richard said during an interview at their Westside home.
Steve III, was born in Harlingen, Texas. His brother Ricardo was born in San Benito, Texas and both grew up with their father and mother, Nelda Pérez.
“We grew up with Silver and Boni (their uncles Silvestre and Bonifacio Jordan, timbales and drums), Charlie (Hettrick) and all the musicians because they would practice at home, but I didn’t realize dad was so well known until my elementary school teaches would tell me, ‘you know, you’re dad’s famous.’ However, I was a child and I thought everybody loved music and jammed at home.”
“We grew up going fishing with my dad,” Ricardo added of the simple down-to-earth life they lived.
This is about the time when Steve would go to Los Angeles and perform with Santana and Jerry García in shows that drew Linda Ronstadt, Bruce Willis and numerous other Hollywood actors. In fact, even the Gispy Kings flew in from Spain to see the accordion wizard do his magic; and the video to prove it can be seen on www.youtube.com.
“When we got older, dad flew us up to an outdoor concert in Houston and we were blown away by the huge crowd who had come to see our dad. That was impressive.
“A few years later, when I was about eight or nine when my dad wanted to see where I was at and got me to sing along with him; and I made my debut singing ‘La Postera’ with dad and Frankie Caballero as the opening act in Combes, Texas.”
The Jordan brothers later followed their father to San Antonio where Steve III attended Rayburn Middle School and John Jay High School. The first instrument he learned to play was the alto saxophone as a member of the marching band. Then he went back to the Rio Grande Valley where he graduated from Donna High School. His younger brother trailed by about three grades.
Steve III was eighteen when he started learning to play guitar and bass plus do backup vocals. This worried his mother, who because of their father did not want her sons to follow in his footsteps. However, after two of Steve’s musicians quit and moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan and left him in a bind, in order to fulfill a commitment in Houston, Steve asked his sons, “Who wants to play bass and who wants to play guitar?”
Steve III, who was now also playing congas, thought it was easier for Ricardo to learn bass because it was a lot simpler.
“We made it a point to learn and with dad teaching us, it wasn’t too hard. In the past, he had to show other musicians over and over, but with us, there was no problem. So we practiced and learned thirty tunes over three weeks. And before Christmas in 1999, we went and did the gig at the Casino Ballroom in Houston and Christmas Eve at Rio Nilo (now Fuego) in San Antonio. After that we did the Tejano Conjunto Festival in Rosedale Park and we were on our way,” Steve III recalled.
When Steve III switched to congas, his father was able to do the guitar part with his accordion; and between Steve, his two sons, they sounded like six musicians and were able to put on a kick-butt show.
Once they immersed themselves, their innate talent surfaced and Steve III added soprano sax, flute and keyboards to the long list of instruments he now plays. Ricardo also plays keyboards, drums, other percussion instruments and both brothers play accordion. Then Steve told them it was time to step up to the microphone and start singing lead vocals.
“To us, it was like wow,” Ricardo said.
It was circa 2001 when the Jordan brothers moved back to the Alamo City and they became the house band in Saluté, owned by Azeneth Dominguéz, Steve’s caretaker and girlfriend of 27 years.
“Ya cuando estaba falleciendo (As he neared death) he was unable to sit in one sport for more than one hour and was thus unable to travel and we had to fulfilled artistic contracts for our dad in Phoenix, Chicago and Ohio.”
I last time this writer visited with Steve at his home, he said he had hundreds of unreleased tunes he had recorded over many years. Those have yet to be released, but Steve III says that project is still in the works. In addition, they are also compiling a set of their own original recording for future release. Meanwhile they do have a four-song promotional compact disc which contains “Viente Años,” “La Mucura,” “Sopilote Mojado,” and instrumental; and a progressive accordion very Steve Jordan innovative style version of “La Bikina.”
Rio Jordan was the name of their father’s band and his two younger sons are now forging ahead with the same name, but today the group consists of Steve III, vocals, flute and percussion; Ricardo, bass and vocals; Juanito Castillo, accordion; and Alejandro “Alex” Valdez, drums.
Robert Luis Pérez fills in whenever Juanito is unable to perform and they sometimes add Rick Cortez on saxophone.
For a long time, many fans thought the two brothers were twins, however Steve III has let his hair grow out and he now looks just like a taller, güero version of his father.
Steve III and Ricardo inherited their father’s 24-track recording studio and are spending every day perfecting their sound as they prepare for a major gig at Casino Del Sol in Tucson.
“We’re full-time musicians and our only thing is the music,” Ricardo said. “We all play accordion and we have our father’s legacy backing us up”
“As for gigs, we are able to do four hours y somos (and we are) Jordans, so a majority of our repertoire is dad’s music, some originals plus some standard covers. So it’s pretty much my dad’s same show, but we do incorporate some new stuff too.”
Steve’s last compact disc and musical goodbye was “Carta Espirtual” on Jordan Records and it, as well as the Jordan brother’s promo CD, is available at www.estebanjordan.com, now under reconstruction. For booking call (210) 649-6570.