Opening the iTunes Store.If iTunes doesn't open, click the iTunes application icon in your Dock or on your Windows desktop.Progress Indicator
Opening the iBooks Store.If iBooks doesn't open, click the iBooks app in your Dock.Progress Indicator

iTunes is the world's easiest way to organize and add to your digital media collection.

We are unable to find iTunes on your computer. To preview and buy music from Glass Bead Games by Clifford Jordan Quartet, download iTunes now.

Already have iTunes? Click I Have iTunes to open it now.

I Have iTunes Free Download
iTunes for Mac + PC

Glass Bead Games

Open iTunes to preview, buy, and download music.

Album Review

Clifford Jordan's two volumes of sessions under the title Glass Bead Games have long been heralded as some of the most important work of his career. These once rare recordings, previously issued as individual albums and as a two-LP set by Strata East, feature the late tenor saxophonist leading two separate quartets. The first, with pianist Stanley Cowell, bassist Bill Lee and drummer Billy Higgins, consists of seven powerful originals by the band. The portraits include Jordan's well-named "Powerful Paul Robeson" and Cowell's driving post-bop tribute "Cal Massey." But it is Lee's moving "John Coltrane" which opens with a solo chorus by its composer and includes a vocal chant by Jordan, Higgins and Lee, that leaves the most lasting impression, with influences from throughout several of Coltrane's landmark recordings made during the '60s. Lee's "Biskit," which follows his piece "Eddie Harris," sounds as if Harris himself could have written it. The second quartet has Cedar Walton taking over on piano and Sam Jones on bass. This session is not quite as adventurous but is every bit as enjoyable, with stimulating compositions by Walton, Cowell, Higgins and Jones. Jordan devours his drummer's "Alias Buster Henry" whole with his far-reaching solo. Jones' blues "One for Amos" was the only established piece recorded for the album, having received wide exposure during the previous decade; this updated arrangement ranks among its finest interpretations. Long out of print and fetching high prices at auctions, this Harvest Song reissue, which combines all issued tracks on one disc, returns a legendary release to print at a much more affordable price. Highly recommended!

Customer Reviews


This is one of my all time favorite jazz recordings.

Glass Bead Gamess - Clifford Jordan

I am so incredibly glad to see this on iTunes! I bought my vinyl copy, cash dollars, from Donna Jewell Jordan, Clifford's wife, when this band played the Foxhole in Philly, back in the 70's. I melted it playing it over and over, it is an underrated jazz classic. Clifford deserves his place amongst the pantheon of jazz greats. Both rhythm sections are a true blessing, Stanley Cowell and Sam Jones among my all time favorites, and Smilin' Billy Higgins is simply amazing! Listen and believe!

Sadly Little Known

This is one of a number of jazz albums recorded in the 70's that gives the lie to the idea that little worthwhile was recorded in those years. Unfortunately Glass Bead Games received limited distribution when it was released and garnered attention from a rather select audience only. I found a copy of the Strata East pressing and was quite happy to have come upon it. Rejoice that this is available on iTunes! Jordan assembled two different quartets for this date (the constants being himself and the superlative Billy Higgins). Some of the tunes feature Stanley Cowell and Bill Lee, others Cedar Walton and Sam Jones. Despite the disparate personnel, the album is a whole and is brilliantly ordered and arranged. Cowell's playing is edgier and more angular than Walton's and that dynamic tension is one of the fine features of this work. Jordan worked in an age of tenor giants and his genius was not sufficiently appreciated. He is firmly rooted in the Lester Young tradition and his playing has a lightness and fluidity that I often thought was lost in recordings. Not this one.


Born: September 2, 1931 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Clifford Jordan was a fine inside/outside player who somehow held his own with Eric Dolphy in the 1964 Charles Mingus Sextet. Jordan had his own sound on tenor almost from the start. He gigged around Chicago with Max Roach, Sonny Stitt, and some R&B groups before moving to New York in 1957. Jordan immediately made a strong impression, leading three albums for Blue Note (including a meeting with fellow tenor John Gilmore) and touring with Horace Silver (1957-1958), J.J. Johnson (1959-1960), Kenny...
Full Bio
Glass Bead Games, Clifford Jordan Quartet
View in iTunes
  • $11.88
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Aug 19, 1974

Customer Ratings