San Diego area saxophonist Ian Tordella is a unique voice on the West Coast jazz scene. Tordella’s compositions are harmonically in the realm of post-bop, but strongly influenced by indie-rock, trip-hop, and electronica. His upcoming third album features his long-time collaborator Brooklyn guitarist Jeff Miles, and continues this trajectory of fusing jazz with more contemporary sounds and influences. Outside of his own band, Tordella appears both live and/or on recordings with a variety of local groups including Joe Garrison’s acclaimed large-ensemble Night People, Ben Wanicur’s trio/quartet, Gilbert Castellanos’s Federal Jazz Project Band, and guest appearances with rock mainstays The Heavy Guilt and Little Hurricane.
Raised in the Washington, DC area, Tordella received a B.M. in Jazz Performance from University of North Texas before transplanting to California in 2003, where he furthered his studies under altoist Charles McPherson. He has worked with trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos [of the Clayton/Hamilton Orchestra], guitarist Peter Sprague, pianist Joshua White, bassist Jeff Denson [Lee Konitz], saxophonist Jason Robinson, and others.
“…incorporates George Coleman’s soulful mannerisms with Wayne Shorter’s economy. This thoughtful, uncluttered manner fits easily into the indie aesthetic.”
–S. Victor Aaron, somethingelsereviews.com
“Rather than simply showing us everything he can do with his horn, Tordella creates some wonderful melodies and solos which employ thematic variation and make enough use of negative space to keep things interesting.”
–David Hill, jazzhothouse.com
“Tordella is really coming into his own lately. I hear a guy who has absorbed a lot of Wayne Shorter with healthy amounts of Coltrane and Rollins into a highly personal aesthetic.”
–Robert Bush, San Diego Reader