Stanley Jordan

Guitar virtuoso Stanley Jordan was a star in the 1980s, when his career took off with critical and commercial acclaim. He has always displayed a unique musical personality of creativity, openness, imagination and versatility, which has been a hallmark of his career. Jordan can be relied upon to lead listeners on breathless journeys to the unimaginable, whether he is reinterpreting classical masterpieces or exploring pop-rock hits with soulful explorations. Jordan’s rapid rise to fame was due to his ability to master a unique technique on the fretboard of the guitar. Jordan’s “touch technique”, which is a form of two-handed tapping, replaces traditional strumming and picking. Stanley’s fluid, multilayered textures and sheer virtuosity set the standard for excellence. While there were a few other players who used similar techniques, Stanley was able to surpass them all. His technique is impressive but it’s only a means to an end. His music has captured the imaginations of millions around the world because it is filled with warmth and sensitivity. Jordan, a classically trained pianist, wanted more freedom when voicing chords on the guitar. He applied piano principles to achieve this. Jordan’s touch technique allows him to simultaneously play chords and melody with unprecedented independence. Jordan can also use the touch technique to simultaneously play on two guitars or on both guitar and piano. Jordan says that he thinks of it as one instrument but has a wide variety of tonal colours. He has performed in more than 60 countries across 6 continents. He has appeared at numerous festivals including the Kool Jazz Festival and the Concord Jazz Festival. He collaborated with many artists in the 1980s, including performances with Richie Cole and Art Blakey. Also, he recorded with Stanley Clarke as well as Kenny Rogers. “Morning Desire”, a track he recorded with Rogers, became America’s number one country song in 1986. Jordan was later a regular guest of Les Paul at his legendary Monday night parties at Iridium in New York. Jordan continues to perform as a soloist, with his band, and also collaborates with other guitarists like Sharon Isbin, Kevin Eubanks, and Muriel Anderson. He is also a regular guest in jam bands like the Dave Matthews Band and the String Cheese Incident, Phil Lesh and Moe, as well as Umphrey’s McGee. Jordan has been nominated for four Grammys. His latest album, “Friends”, was nominated by the NAACP Image Award. Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times jazz critic, wrote that “Genius” is a term often used in musical circles but has been applied to Stanley Jordan. Stanley Jordan was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. At six years old, he began studying piano and then switched to guitar at eleven. After graduating from high school, he began to play in rock and soul groups. Jordan was still in high school when he performed with Quincy Jones. He tied for first place at the Reno International Jazz Festival as a soloist. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Princeton University in 1981. There he studied theory, composition and computer music with Paul Lansky. Jordan also performed at Princeton with Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Carter. Jordan came to prominence with the release of his 1985 album Magic Touch, a revolutionary project that placed him at the forefront of re-launching legendary Blue Note Records into a contemporary entity in jazz and beyond, as also established the then-twenty-something Jordan as among the most distinctive and refreshing new voices of the electric guitar. Jordan began applying his unique technique to his exemplary traditional playing ten year before the Magic Touch album. Although Jordan used the technique in many musical styles, including swing and rock, it was his smooth jazz radio support for his unique versions of “The Lady in My Life” and “Eleanor Rigby” which sent Magic Touch to Billboard’s top jazz charts for 51 weeks. The album was a huge success, selling more than 500,000 copies in the U.S. alone. This is a remarkable feat for any instrumental or jazz CD. Jordan continued to push the boundaries of jazz and his music with subsequent albums. One of these albums was a solo guitar album called Standards Volume 1 (1986), where Stanley declared that songs by Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix should be recognized as standards. He also released the dance-pop album Flying Home (1988), and the particularly edgy Cornucopia (1990), both which ranged from straight-ahead jazz that was recorded live to more complex originals that were recorded in the studio. After a move to Arista Records in 1994, where he was helmed then by Clive Davis, the pop music maverick, Stanley recorded Bolero, which featured covers of Herbie Hancock’s song “Chameleon”, Jimi Hendrix’s song “Drifting”, his original “Plato’s Blues” as well as a 17-minute arrangement Ravel’s piece “Bolero”. It seamlessly merged rock, Latin, African, Latin and “groooove” sections and “industrial” and “groove” sections. Jordan created the iconic “startup” sound that was used by the first Power Macintosh computers. Stanley and Novecento released Dreams of Peace in 2002. It was remastered and reissued in the USA by Steve Vai’s Favored Nations in 2004. He also recorded two CDs on his own: Ragas, which was a collaboration with Indian musicians featuring Jay Kishor playing sitar, and Relaxing Music For Difficult Situations Volume 1 (an audio extension of his interest music therapy). Jordan signed with Mack Avenue Records in 2007 and released State of Nature (2008) and Friends (2011). He invited musicians to Friends including Bucky Pizzarelli’s guitarists, Mike Stern, Russell Malone, Charlie Hunter, and Ronnie Laws’ saxophonists Kenny Garrett, and Nicholas Payton, as well as bassists Charnett Moffett and Christian McBride, and Kenwood Dennard, the drummer. Amazing results were achieved on songs ranging from a Bela bartok song to a Katy Perry pop hit, a heady original Blues, and three jazz classics that span swing, cool and samba. Jordan is well-known to both TV and film audiences. He made a brief appearance in 1987’s Blake Edwards movie Blind Date starring Bruce Willis u0026 Kim Basinger. Jordan was part of the tribute film Les Paul: He Changed the Music, where he performed with a guitarist supergroup that included Les Paul, Eddie Van Halen and BB King. Also, David Gilmour and Brian Setzer. Charlie Jordan directed the 1995 short film One Red Rose. Jordan composed the music for Jordan’s score. It starred Hill Harper and Victoria Rowell. He composed the music for an ABC afternoon television special, Daddy’s Girl. It was directed by Diane Wynter. He has appeared on many television programs, including The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson, The David Letterman Show, and the Grammy Awards. He was also a guest on The Tonight Show with Robert Palmer, the late rock star. Stanley believes music can be an artistic, spiritual, or even health-promoting activity. For more than a decade, he has been involved in music therapy. He is currently pursuing a master’s at Arizona State University. He is a music therapist and does outreach in schools, hospitals, and other venues whenever he travels. He is the American Music Therapy Association’s artist-spokesperson and has given many lectures and demonstrations about the healing benefits of music. Jordan has kept a consistent and extensive international tour schedule. Between tour stops, he’s currently at Mack Avenue Records working on his highly anticipated next album. It will be released next year. Jordan currently resides in Sedona, Arizona. Julia is his only child. Julia Jordan, a singer/songwriter from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, sometimes works with her father. from

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