A Man Who Once Opened For Elton Has Passed Away--
July 2011 @ 17:14
society bandleader Nick Jordan, whose career spanned four decades, died June 27, 2011, at his San Francisco home after a long, spirited battle with cancer and heart disease. He was 82 years old. Mr. Jordan frequently joked that, if he ever wrote a memoir, he would title it "Eight Feet Away." For during his career he was on stage standing eight feet away from U.S. presidents, European royals, NASA astronauts, business and union leaders, politicians, and entertainment celebrities. Born Nick Maslach, the son of Yugoslavian emigrants, Mr. Jordan played drums and ran combos at Northern California resorts, such as the Feather River Inn, during high school summer breaks. He graduated from Galileo High School, and studied music at San Francisco State. He left after two years to play in ship orchestras on the Matson and American President Lines. In 1962, he went into the music business on his own. He began working at Army and Navy service clubs, including Hamilton Field, Treasure Island, and the Presidio Officers Club. He branched out into country clubs and society weddings, balls, parties, and gala fundraisers for the performing arts. Eventually he was booking major social events and fundraisers, and Chronicle columnist Albert Morch labeled him San Francisco Society Bandleader. Over the years, he scored 26 mentions in Chronicle columnist Herb Caen's famous column. During the booming convention business in the 70s and 80s, the Nick Jordan Musical Organization handled 75 to 125 convention-related events annually. Mr. Jordan was the principal provider of musical services at the Fairmont, Mark Hopkins, Sheraton Palace, and several other major hotels. He also provided music for numerous events for then Chief of Protocol Adolph Shuman. In the 90s he did a number of celebrity events, including the opening acts for Jay Leno at Lake Tahoe and Elton John in San Francisco. A proponent of big band music, Mr. Jordan reluctantly included rock music, embedding a core of rock musicians in his larger bands. As DJs began to challenge the musical contracting business, he started a DJ company, Music Makers DJs. A person of enormous energy, his passion for music and the music business was lifelong. A close second was tennis, which he played daily. Mr. Jordan was a Charter Member of the San Francisco Tennis Club. Mr. Jordan served in the National Guard Reserve (1948-1950) and played drums in the 49th Division Band based in Alameda. Mr. Jordan is survived by his wife, Julie; his sister, Stella Donahue, Las Vegas; his nephew, Sherwood (Cherie) Donahue and their son, Shane, Oakland; his niece, Jastell Donahue and her children, Ellary and Spencer Cohen, Novato.