Saturday, October 31, 2009

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Stanley Jordan

This week, our video spotlilght shines on guitarist Stanley Jordan, who will be in St. Louis to perform next Wednesday, November 4 through Saturday, November 7 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Jordan is known for his two-handed tapping technique, which he developed as a teenager in the 1970s and is used to produce simultaneous melody, chords and/or bass lines. He's played in St. Louis a number of times before, notably at Mississippi Nights and Finale Music and Dining, but this will be his debut at the Bistro.

These four clips show Jordan applying those impressive chops to a variety of material. Up above, you'll find his take on John Coltrane's "Cousin Mary," recorded in the early 1990s, as was the second video just below this text, a version of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby."

The other two clips are more recent, and a big rougher in terms of audio/video quality, but offer some interesting performances. The third clip was recorded in 2007 at the International Guitar Festival in Santo Tirso, Portugal, and shows Jordan improvising in sort of a Spanish guitar style. And in the fourth clip, dated 2008, Jordan plays around with what's identified as a theme from Mozart. (Can any of you astute StLJN readers identify the pieces in videos #3 and #4? If so, please share your info in the comments.)

For yr. humble editor, Jordan is a little bit like Art Tatum, or a fancy restaurant's elaborate, impossibly rich dessert that take many hours to prepare: The quality is undeniably high, and you can't help but admire the skill involved, but a small portion usually is enough to satisfy. Of course, your tastes may vary, and if you're one of those who can't get enough of Jordan, you've got eight sets to look forward to next week.

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