Guitar legend and “jazz genius” Stanley Jordan will present in the third performance of the Club Weisiger Series. The concert is set for Saturday in Weisiger Theatre.
Trying to describe Stanley Jordan in simple terms is like trying to explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in 10 words or less; no matter what you say, you’d be leaving a lot out. Best known as a guitarist who has made major technical and musical contributions to his instrument, Jordan has made a name for himself as one of the most significant guitarists of the late 20th century.
After seeing him perform with his trio at the Montreal Jazz Festival, Los Angeles Times jazz critic Leonard Feather was prompted to write, “Genius is a word too often tossed around in musical circles, but it has been rightfully applied to Stanley Jordan.”
With a digital music composition degree from Princeton University, performances alongside Benny Carter, Quincy Jones and Dizzy Gillespie, four Grammy nominations, and numerous film and television appearances, Jordan’s two-handed tapping technique has made him a legend, weaving classical, jazz, pop and world textures. Equally at home with performing his original music or paying homage to Stevie Wonder, Mozart, Ray Charles, Maurice Ravel, this concert will simultaneously stimulate your senses while massaging your mood.
“This concert will certainly appeal to a cross-section of music lovers,” said Norton Center for the Arts Executive Director Steve Hoffman. “Classical music lovers will be turned on to pop songs such as Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed A Girl,’ the Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and perhaps Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’; pop fans might hear jazz standards by Horace Silver and Ray Charles; and jazz lovers will be blown away by guitar interpretations of classical works by composers such as Mozart and Bartok. For those who love guitar music of all styles, the greatness of Stanley Jordan and his legendary musical style will be transforming.”
In a career that took flight in 1985 with immediate commercial and critical acclaim, Jordan has consistently displayed a chameleonic musical persona of openness, imagination, versatility, respect and maverick daring. Be it bold reinventions of classical masterpieces or soulful explorations through pop-rock hits and ultramodern improvisational works — solo or with a group — Jordan can always be counted on to take listeners on breathless journeys into the unexpected.
At various points during his live performance, audience-goers see Jordan do something that might blow their mind: using the left hand, he will play various rhythmic, jazzy chords on guitar, while simultaneously putting his right hand to work on a piano to play constantly evolving chords and soloing sections.
Making an impressive record in this fashion is one thing — which he did during much of the 1980s and occasionally in the ’90s — but watching Stanley demonstrate this skill live is engaging.