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RockNRollCupcake: 10/28/08

28 Oct

Stanley Jordan Trio, the Dakota, 10/28/2008

This is actually a jazz cupcake, to my delight. I have written before that I don’t know understand jazz– but I do understand exuberance, and am impressed (maybe too easily sometimes) by musical precision and virtuosic play. So when Stanley Jordan riffs jazz guitar Mozart, with joyful head bobs and arm flails for emphasis, you will forgive, and understand, the smile across my face.

I was lucky enough to be at the Dakota with an old friend, to whom credit must go for introducing me to jazz back in high school with the works of John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola and Miles’ Bitches Brew. We came in with enough time to catch Jordan in his opening solo numbers, sparse high notes scaling up and down, action close to the fretboard, hands almost touching and exerting the minimum visible effort but providing an explosive flow of crisp notes that carried over the rapt silence of the crowd. Not only was he a thrill to listen to, but also to watch; bass notes for added emphasis were played with his chin!

This was full contact, swaying jazz, only intensified with accompaniment from his excellent backing bass and drums. With the band, he moved through asymmetrical covers of Jobim, “Autumn Leaves“, and a mean, pulsing jam that opened with bassist Charnett Moffett tackling “Amazing Grace” in a minor key. After the jam and some more solo numbers, Jordan took the mic to talk about his other projects, including a CD of music he had recorded with a music therapist to get him through three days of dental work, Relaxing Music for Difficult Situations, I. Jordan was soft-spoken but effusive; full of talk about the interconnected nature of humanity and the logical progression of “correct action” from the realization that there is only one Earth, not surprising talk from a man who resides in Sedona, Arizona. The trio closed with an original number from the new disc State of Nature entitled “A Place In Space”, upbeat, sprawling, full of chaos and hope. Who needs understanding when you’ve got joy?

*A note on the Dakota: Go there. Get an appetizer or two, catch Nachito Herrera, talk to the awesome staff. Try and convince them to book DeVotchKa, or Beirut, because that would be an amazing show, without compromising the musical ethos of the place. Support homegrown music in all it’s forms, even if you have to dress up a little to get it.

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