Monday, October 24, 2011

Stanley Jordan meets Friends

Jordan extented the limits of the guitar.
Friends, whose benifits push Stanley into a heightened musical reality.
Hans Koert
Stanley Jordan's two-handed tapping technique seemed to be achieved through sorcery rather than practice. People had used tapping before, but never to the level that Jordan does - comping and soloing at the same time, and giving the illusions of two guitarists playing at once. (David Rickert (All About Jazz))
The latest album by guitar player Stanley Jordan, entitled Friends, surprised me. He is one of those musicians that slipped my attention I guess. He invited some friends to make this great album, which was released by Mack Avenue some weeks ago.
Stanley Jordan (photo courtesy: Keith Major)
Stanley Jordan discovered jazz music when he was 13 years old, when he played the guitar in rock and soul bands. He became fascinated by the music of Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane and guitar players like George Benson, Wes Montgomery, Tal Farlow and Jimmy Hendrix inspired him. He studied at the Princeton University, where he graduated in 1981. His first self-produced solo album Touch Sensitive (1982) was not very successfully, but the one to follow, Touch Magic (1984), became a hit. Enjoy a fragment of a film where he plays Jumping Jack, a tune to be found on his first solo album.
Thanks to this success he played on large festivals, like the Kool Jazz Festival and Montreux Jazz. He developed the so-called tap and touch technique, which means that he prefers to tap the strings of the instrument with both hands, which allows him to play two independent lines and to comp against his own solos, Jim Ferguson explains in The New Groove Dictionary of Jazz. He also changed the standard guitar tuning of his instrument.
Stanley Jordan - Friends (MAC 1062)
The friends Stanley invited to join him on this record belong to the best of the US jazz scene. What to think about guitar players, like
Charlie Hunter who can be heard in Walkin' The Dog or Mike Stern, who joins Stanley in Coltrane's Giant Steps. Regina Carter, the popular violin player, can be heard in Bathed in Light and Romantic Intermezzo From Bartok's Concerto For Orchestra. He invited some other great guitar players like Bucky Pizzarelli and Russell Malone. In Seven Come Eleven Stanley honours electric jazz guitar pioneer Charlie Christian, who recorded this great tune in 1939 with the Benny Goodman Sextet.
Stanley Jordan (photo courtesy: Keith Major)
Other great musicians on this album are
Kenny Garrett and Ronnie Laws on soprano sax, Nicholas Payton on trumpet and Christian McBride, Charnett Moffett and Kenwood Dennard in the rhythm section. Enjoy a fragment of Autumn Leaves, recorded a few years ago at a concert, where Stanley plays two guitars simultaneous .........
All mentioned musicians can be heard on two or more tracks. The track One For Milton is dedicated to Stanley's music teacher Milton Babbit, who passed away in his mid 90s, earlier this year. It became a kind of atonal improvisation, which is, in my opinion, an unnecessary track. I really liked Lil' Darlin' which reminds me to the great rhythm guitar players like Freddy Green and Coltrane's Giant Steps, but Seven Comes Eleven takes the cake.

Stanley Jordan (photo courtesy: Tony McShear)
Love to finish this review with a promo by Mack Avenue which learn what a great guitar player Stanley Jordan is

The latest album by Stanley Jordan, entitled Friends, can be order at the Mack Avenue site or at Challenge Records.
Hans Koert
If you've ever heard the guitar as played by Stanley Jordan, you might think that two guitar players make music at the same time. He developed the so-called tap and touch technique, which means that he prefers to tap the strings of the instrument with both hands, which allows him to play two independent lines and to comp against his own solos. ( Jim Ferguson). He invited some good friends to join him at his latest album, entiteld Friends. Keep Swinging loves to point you to this kind of unique jazz instrumentalists. If you don't want to miss any contribution, feel free to follow the blog at Twitter (#keepswinging) or ask for its free newsletter (

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