Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stanley Jordan

Stanley Jordan is a 50-year old American jazz guitarist from Chicago, Illinois, who is one of the most educated, deep-thinking musicians of his time!  He started studying and playing the piano at age six, before shifting focus to the guitar when he was eleven.
Jordan soon began playing in rock and soul bands, before winning his first award at the 'Reno Jazz Festival' in 1976, however, even more amazing was his rise to educational heights.  In 1981, Jordan received a BA degree in digital music composition from Princeton University, and another degree from Harvard by the end of that same year...while at the same time playing guitar with Benny Carter and Dizzy Guillespie.
It was during this time that Jordan also developed a now-famous "tapping" technique with his guitar by hammering the string against the fret board with your finger, where-by you can produce a note with one hand.
"You don't need to pluck or strum, because the impact of the string hitting the fret causes the string to vibrate", assures Jordan.  "You can use either hand or both, tapping simultaneously and performing independant parts, which easily produces a level of musical and orchestral complexity found only on keyboard instruments".
"I've used the technique on Fender Stratocasters, Gibson Les Pauls and ES-175's, Travis Beans, and others.  Chances are you can apply the technique to your own guitar with a few minor adjustments".
Jordan credits 1950's guitarist Jimmy Webster as the first to use this approach, and claims this "touch" technique(now used world-wide) provides limitless possibilities for musical exploration on the guitar.
During the 1980's, Jordan toured the jazz festival circuit playing at the 'Kool and Montreaux International' festivals, and the 'Concord Jazz Festival' in California....while also jamming with Quincy Jones, Michael Urbaniak, and Richie Cole.
However, since working at 'Birdland Jazz Club' in New York through 1990, Jordan has kept a low profile after becoming upset with several music factions who wanted to claim the "Jordan" sound as their own...thus placing market constraints and demands on him and his music.
But, through it all Jordan has managed to put out thirteen albums, the most notable and recent called "State of Nature".  It is a series of guitar instrumentals that reflect on the relationship between humankind and the natural world.
Through music, Jordan tries to address Man's inharmony toward self, other, and nature....using music to illuminate answers to questions like: "How can we be so knowingly destructive to the enviornment and yet not change our ways, and how might we develop ourselves on the inside to become more harmonious with nature"? Pretty deep for a jazz guitarist!
Jordan's hit single on the album 'Steppin Out', was one of two in his career nominated for Grammy's for Best Pop Instrumental.  Following a brief marriage, Jordan had a 26-year old daughter named Julia,  a singer/song writer living Los Angeles,California who recently released an album called 'Urban Legacy'... which won positive reviews in 2007.
As for Stanley Jordan, he currently lives in Sedona, Arizona and is entrenched in the deep study of music therapy, after becoming a spokesperson for the the American Music Therapy Association.  Not surprisingly, he also attends Arizona State University and is working on a Masters degree in, what therapy!  
Thanks, and keep listening to Streetwise Radio!
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