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Stanley Jordan at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Stanley Jordan

Many a guitar-player with a vivid imagination has fantasized about performing outdoors on a perfect summer evening, making gorgeous music that wows even a sophisticated crowd. This dream can come true, when the guitarist is Stanley Jordan, with us for this hour of NPR's JazzSet.

On the plaza at the New Jersey Center for the Performing Arts, welcome to a Thursday evening series called JP Morgan Chase Presents Sounds of the City. It's an after-work gathering with an end-of-the-week feel. To catch all the colors and vibes and weave them into the music, guitarist extraordinaire Stanley Jordan is onstage, with bassist Santi Debriano and drummer Gordon Lane.

Stanley is a joy to watch. He plays with a technique that's unconventional and quite visual. Rather than fingering with one hand and strumming with the other, both his hands are active on the neck of the guitar, pulling and plucking and opening up new possibilities.

In East Orange, New Jersey, some twenty years ago, reporter Becca Pulliam -- now our JazzSet producer -- visited Stanley Jordan at home. Her report ran on NPR's All Things Considered. We share an excerpt, Stanley telling Becca how he developed his technique, in 1985. He has stayed with this technique to this day.

Each of Stanley Jordan's CDs shows a different side. On Dreams of Peace, he's with the Italian pop group Novecento and vocalist Greg Kofi Brown, lead singer of the Afro funk band Osabisa. On the CD Ragas, he performs with sitar and tablas, live in Seattle. And another CD, Relaxing Music for Difficult Situations, came from Stanley's anxiety about a dental appointment. He faced the situation with music.

Stanley also has a passionate interest in music therapy. He predicts it will become one of the breakthrough healing systems of the 21st century, and he's studying it at Arizona State University.

"Impressions" (Coltrane)
"Cousin Mary" (Coltrane)
"Yesterday" (Lennon/McCartney)
"El Condor Pasa" (traditional)
Theme from Mozart Piano Concerto Number 21 (arr. Jordan)
"Return Expedition" (Jordan)


  • Stanley Jordan on the Web
  • The New Jersey Performing Arts Center

    MC Rob Crocker, Field Producer Joshua Jackson, Music Mixer and JazzSet Technical Director Duke Markos, Operations Director Brian McCabe, with Spencer Graves, Yujin Cha and Steven Weiss.
    Audio Engineer Ginger Bruner of KUNV-FM Las Vegas, your jazz spot in southern Nevada.
    Producer Becca Pulliam, Executive Producer Thurston Briscoe of WBGO-FM Jazz 88 in Newark.

    Copyright 2007 NPR